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Asbestos

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring fiberous mineral occurring in some rocks.  Asbestos-containing rock is still being mined in Canada and other countries.  Asbestos is resistant to heat and friction.   It improves the properties of plaster, wallboard, sound insulation and fire insulation.  It makes for better automotive clutches and brake linings. 

Unfortunately, asbestos is also the cause of thousands of deaths each year in the U.S. from lung cancer, asbestosis (scarring of lung tissue), and mesothelioma (a type of deadly cancer).   Asbestos is particularly insidious because it can exist in tiny, breathable fibers that go deep into human lungs.  The human body’s natural defense mechanisms are not always effective in countering the fibers.

Contrary to popular opinion, the United States has NOT outlawed all uses of asbestos.

Asbestos can be found in many materials in our homes, workplaces, public buildings, and cars and trucks.  Examples include:

  • ductwork insulation
  • pipe insulation
  • isolation joints in heating systems
  • house siding
  • fireplace artificial logs
  • floor tile
  • roofing
  • plaster
  • automotive clutches and brake linings
  • other

Asbestos in Ohio is highly regulated by the following entities:

  • United States EPA
  • Ohio EPA
  • Ohio Department of Health
  • OSHA

The Canton City Health Department handles asbestos issues for the Ohio EPA in all of Stark County.  Usually the concerns are for buildings that are demolished or renovated.   For example, before a commercial building, even a “Mom-and-Pop” business, can be demolished or renovated the following procedure must be followed:

  • It must be surveyed for asbestos by a state-certified inspector.
  • Depending on the quantities and types of asbestos-containing materials found, this material may or may not have to be removed prior to the demolition or renovation.
  • Only state-licensed asbestos abatement contractors may remove the asbestos.
  • Written notification must be given to the Ohio EPA at least ten working days before demolition can begin.   This is true even if there is no asbestos in the building. 
  • If a load-bearing wall is removed, then the project is a demolition.
  • For renovations, notification may or may not be required depending on what the inspector found.  
  • In Stark County, the notifications for Ohio EPA are given to the Canton City Health Department, Air Pollution Control Division.

If you have concerns about renovation or demolition activity, call 330-438-4663 or submit it electronically here.

Other information about asbestos:

  • Schools (K-12) have very strict asbestos regimens.   They conduct regular inspections even if no renovation or demolition is occurring.  They maintain records as to the type and condition of asbestos in school buildings.
  • Asbestos in a building is not dangerous in every case.   It becomes hazardous if it is damaged or exposed in such a way that the fibers are released into the air.
  • The Canton City Health Department does not perform demolition/renovation inspections nor does it conduct asbestos inspections of private homes.  Private contractors do this.  The Health Department does make follow up inspections in selected cases to ensure that asbestos abatement contractors have successfully completed their work.
  • The public may contact the Canton City Health Department, Air Pollution Control Division at 330-489-3385 if they have questions about asbestos.
  • The Ohio EPA’s asbestos regulations mirror those of the USEPA.
  • Homeowners and businesses can find information at the following sites: