Be Asbestos Wise When Remodeling

Fibrous tremolite asbestos on muscovite. Courtesy Wikipedia.

If you have an upcoming home remodel or other improvement project that will create waste from the construction site, you’ll want to know about steps you can take to protect your health and reduce your exposure to asbestos. You’ll also want to make sure your materials don’t contain asbestos, and if they do, you’ll want to know how to handle and dispose of them properly.

Asbestos is a common term for a group of naturally occurring minerals used in thousands of building products in the U.S., most extensively in the 1940s through 1970s. Asbestos was used because of its various qualities such as durability, flexibility, and resistance to heat or electricity.

Asbestos is known to cause lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos. To protect the health and safety of the public, Metro is taking steps to prevent the delivery of asbestos-containing materials to its transfer stations in Northwest Portland and Oregon City.

Beginning in early 2016, Metro required certain types of construction materials to be tested for asbestos before those materials could come to a Metro transfer station. Starting April 1, additional types of construction materials will need to be screened for asbestos before they can come to a Metro transfer station. Any materials that contain asbestos cannot be taken to a Metro transfer station and will need to be taken to a DEQ-certified disposal site.

Before you start a remodeling, demolition or construction, you’ll want to take these steps to protect your health and safety:

  • Use an accredited asbestos inspector to survey your project for materials that may contain asbestos.
  • Have any suspect materials tested by analytical laboratory.
  • If your construction waste will go to Metro Central or Metro South transfer stations, fill out a Metro Construction and Demolition Waste Acceptance Form.
  • Bring survey or test results and your waste acceptance form with your load to show it contains no asbestos. If you do not have the proper paperwork, your load will be turned away.

More information about Metro’s asbestos testing requirements can be found at or by calling Metro’s Recycling Information Center at 503-234-3000.

By Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

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