Published: Mar 2015
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One important part of a Baseline Survey, which was covered in Chapter 2, is the assessment of the asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). Assessment is the process of evaluating the condition of the ACMs at the time of the survey and predicting what could happen to make the condition worse. This is done to answer the question: remove the ACM or manage it in place? Both approaches have important consequences including cost, and the results of the assessment allow the building owner to make informed asbestos management decisions.
It is important to recognize what assessment is and what it is not. It is a method to identify existing and future disturbances of ACM that could result in the release of airborne fibers. Assessment does not predict the levels of airborne fibers, the exposure of any individuals, or their chances of developing an asbestos-related disease as a result of these exposures (see Appendix 4A: “Exposure Assessments for Asbestos-Containing Materials”).
It is also important to realize that assessments are an aid to, not a substitute for, the judgment of an experienced asbestos professional. They are a tool to help you make informed decisions about managing ACMs in conjunction with other factors, including some intangible ones. How building occupants feel about working with or around asbestos, for example, may be more important in deciding whether to remove it or leave it in place. Your own professional judgment and experience has to guide your use of the assessment information. If your judgment and other factors suggest that an ACM can and should be managed instead of removing it—or vice versa—don't ignore your intuition.
Oberta, Andrew F.
The Environmental Consultancy, Austin, Texas,