Lead and Asbestos Information
Lead and Asbestos both pose threats to human health. They each have their own set of causes and concerns and require testing to find the minerals that compose these items. Once identified in a home, they need to be removed with the utmost care. To learn more click on the appropriate tab below.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used extensively in the construction and manufacturing industries, and also can be found occurring naturally in soil. Nearly every building contains some form of asbestos. Its wide use is due to its special heat and chemical-resistant nature and its durability. It has been used in wall insulation; paint; sprayed- or troweled on surfacing materials; ceiling and flooring materials; pipe, boiler, and duct insulation; cement filler; and a variety of other products. It is presumed that houses built after 1979 do not contain asbestos or lead-based paint.
Asbestos is classified as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance) by state, federal, and international agencies. Several types of disease can result from exposure to asbestos. In fact, inhalation of asbestos fibers can be deadly, although it may not become apparent for years after exposure. Even short-term exposure to asbestos can be harmful. For example, family members of asbestos workers have contracted the disease from exposure to asbestos fibers on the workers’ clothing.
Authorities believe there is no safe level of exposure, although the higher the exposure to asbestos, the higher the risk of disease.
For more information, please refer to the following resources:
- California Department of Consumer Affairs Asbestos Guide for Consumers packet.
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Asbestos and Your Health
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Additional Resources
As the Owner of a property, you would be allowed to perform work on your own property as long as proper containment is in place and asbestos-safe work practices are being performed. Only the homeowner is allowed to perform the work without being certified and cannot pay for someone to help with the project. A permit must be obtained from your local building department for demolition or renovation and Asbestos National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants notification would be required.
Homeowners remain subject to asbestos disposal requirements, and disposal receipts may need to be turned into the building department for final occupancy. Review the Waste Acceptance List of local solid waste facilities prepared by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. From this list, the nearest facilities to Nevada County that are permitted to accept asbestos are the Ostrom Road, Kiefer, and L&D Landfills. Check with the facility about testing, hauling, and appointment requirements before making the trip to the facility.
NOTE: Environmental Health is responsible for regulating illegal dumping and monitoring the illegal dumping and unsafe work practices involving Asbestos. However, we do not monitor unless we are informed of an issue by a citizen or professional.
Please visit the Nevada County Building Department for more information.
Asbestos & Your Health
What does Environmental Health Do with Lead?
Nevada County Department of Environmental Health performs environmental investigations for children with elevated lead blood levels, as well as ensuring safe work practices in regards to lead-based paint.
Hazardous Lead Paint
If your building was built prior to 1978, there is a possibility that there is lead-based paint. In regards to these homes, the following work practices may create lead hazards:
- Open flame burning or torching
- Machine sanding/grinding without containment
- Hydro-blasting/pressure washing without containment
- Abrasive/sandblasting without containment
- Dry sanding/scraping without containment
If you observe any of these unsafe work practices, please report them to Environmental Health using our Service Request Tool.
Removing Lead Paint
Environmental Health requires a Lead Plan Check and Permit if you are Remediating or Abating lead (both permanent and non-permanent abatement).
Lead Poisoning Prevention
To learn more about how to prevent lead poisoning, please visit the Nevada County Department of Public Health's Lead Poisoning Prevention page. Additional information can be found on the Center for Disease Control Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention page. Review drinking water in California schools through the California Waterboard's Lead Sampling of Drinking Water. If you have further questions, please contact us at Environmental Health.
Lead and Childhood Lead Poisoning
For some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's), please review the Lead and Childhood Lead Poisoning document.