Industrial Health and Safety/Asbestos containing material?


Hello, I have a question about the demolition of a 1964 hospital in my hometown. The contractor, a reputable regional company, has done asbestos abatement on the interior, but I was curious if any of the exterior surfaces could possibly contain asbestos, in particular the mortar used for the brick laying. It typically makes a heck of a dust cloud when these buildings are razed, and I can't seem to find a decent answer on the web. Thanks!


We rarely find asbestos in mortar.  Any suspect materials should be sampled and analyzed by a certified laboratory prior to the demolition.  Normally, prior to granting a demolition permit, the municipal authority will require a full asbestos survey of the building (including the exterior), and abatement of any asbestos-containing materials that were found.  

You could inquire a to whether such a survey was completed.  Typical exterior suspect materials include roofing, flashing, caulks, exterior plasters, stucco, glazing compound, and quite a few others.

Much of the dust produced during demolition will contain silica, which has it's own set of problems.  Ideally, the building will be fully wetted by large fire hoses during this stage, to supress dust.

Best of luck,
Steve Major

Industrial Health and Safety

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Stephen Major (Principal--Lakeland Environmental)


I can answer questions regarding industrial and construction health and safety, OSHA regulations, asbestos safety, confined spaces, lockout-tagout, hazardous materials (HAZWOPER), bloodborne pathogens.


I have 15+ years experience as a health and safety auditor and instructor. I have worked with major industry clients developing site-specific health and safety plans and training programs, including hospitals, banks, property managers, and waste facilities.

BS Cornell University. New York State Department of Health Certified Training Director. NYS Licensed Asbestos Building Inspector. 40-hour HAZWOPER certified.

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