Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was commonly used in the construction industry during the early days of the Industrial Revolution. In many countries, it can no longer be used in the construction of new buildings because of the toxic nature of this mineral's fibers, which can be inhaled by people in the proximity of the substance. In fact, many laws have been passed regarding the rules and regulations for the removal of asbestos from any existing structure. These asbestos removal laws were enacted for the protection of the public. Among the laws in various places are that samples of the material must be tested, that any asbestos must be removed from public buildings, that companies must be licensed in order to perform asbestos-removal services and that certain safety procedures must be followed during removal.
Asbestos removal laws vary from country to country, and even from one jurisdiction to another in some countries. Many countries, though, have a standard system for the removal of the substance. In many places, where there is a significant risk from asbestos, a sample of the material must be sent to a certified laboratory for testing. If the sample tests positive for asbestos, the area must be cleared of the substance.
Many places require companies that remove asbestos to be certified or licensed, but this is not the case everywhere. Most contractors, though, are required to attend courses on the safe removal of asbestos as well as proper disposal of the substance. When the required courses are completed, the contractor often must pass a test administered by a government agency in order to be granted a license for the removal of asbestos from existing structures.
Internationally, asbestos removal laws have been put in place in dozens of countries. In the United Kingdom, for example, any company that finds a significant amount of asbestos in the workplace must vacate the premises and quarantine the infected area. A licensed asbestos removal company must be contracted to remove the substance entirely. Other countries have passed similar asbestos removal laws for the protection of their citizens' health and well-being.