Reduce or eliminate human exposure to hazardous material ingredient byproducts from renovation, repair or demolition work.
This WELL feature requires the application of protective practices during repair, renovation or maintenance to manage exposure risks of the hazardous building materials asbestos, lead and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
In 2004 alone, occupational exposure to asbestos caused over 100,000 deaths. Currently, it is estimated that some 125 million people are exposed to asbestos through their place of work. All known forms of the asbestos are carcinogenic to humans. Mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining, is almost exclusively linked to asbestos exposure. Non-cancer effects associated with asbestos exposure include asbestosis, which results in restricted lung function.
The blood lead burden of today’s population is about 500–1000 times greater than that of our pre-industrial counterparts. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), lead exposure, based on 2015 data, accounted for 494,550 deaths globally, with low- and middle-income countries carrying the highest burdens. Further, the Institute estimated that lead exposure for the same year was responsible for 12.4% of the global burden of developmental intellectual disability, 2.5% of the global burden of ischemic heart disease and 2.4% of the global burden of stroke. Studies examining adults in the general population have found that increased bone and blood lead levels are associated with hypertension (an increase in blood pressure). Exposure to lead, even at low levels, in early development is associated with negative impacts on intelligence quotient (IQ), learning, memory and behavior. Similarly pervasive and found in environmental media due to human activity, PCBs have been linked with cancer of the liver and biliary tract in occupational workers.
Many cases of lead poisoning have resulted from do-it-yourself home renovations without a protocol to mitigate exposure risks. Proper containment and handling of materials like lead and asbestos limits exposure.
Building materials such as caulking, elastic sealants and heat insulation are known to contain PCBs, as is electrical equipment such as fluorescent lights. Indoor exposure typically occurs through inhalation of contaminated air and dermal contact of materials containing PCBs. The use of safe work practices that minimize dust and contain contaminated waste ensure that lead, asbestos and PCB-containing building materials do not contaminate surrounding surfaces during repair, removal and/or disposal.
Manage Asbestos Hazards
For renovation of buildings constructed prior to any applicable laws banning or restricting asbestos, asbestos evaluation and abatement is conducted in accordance with the following:
An on-site investigation of the space conducted by a certified risk assessor or inspector technician to determine the presence of any asbestos-based hazards is conducted, including Category I and Category II non-friable ACM, per 40 CFR Part 61; Subpart M; §61.145, Standard for demolition and renovation.
All spaces found to have asbestos hazards adhere to applicable protocol per 40 CFR Part 61; Subpart M; §61.145, Standard for demolition and renovation and 40 CFR Part 61; Subpart M; §61.150, Standard for waste disposal for manufacturing, fabricating, demolition, renovation and spraying operations.
Manage Lead Hazards
For renovation or painting of buildings constructed prior to any applicable laws banning or restricting lead paint, lead paint evaluation and abatement is conducted in accordance with the following:
All spaces found to have lead-based hazards must adhere to 40 CFR Part 745; Subpart L; §745.227, Work practice standards for conducting lead-based paint activities: target housing and child-occupied facilities, as outlined for multi-family dwellings and 40 CFR Part 745; Subpart E; Section §745.85, Work practice standards.
An on-site investigation of the space conducted by a certified risk assessor or inspector technician to determine the presence of any lead-based hazards in paint, dust and soil using the definitions in 40 CFR Part 745; Subpart D; §745.65, Lead-based paint hazards for residential dwellings or child-occupied facilities.
Manage Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Hazards
For renovation work that disturbs PCB-containing building materials (e.g. common window replacements) in buildings constructed before the institution of any applicable laws banning or restricting PCBs, prepare an abatement strategy for PCB containing materials in accordance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Steps to Safe PCB Abatement Activities that includes the following:
Characterization and sampling.
Protective measures for workers.
Safe storage and disposal.
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