Agency proposes requiring asbestos surveys when working with the hazardous substance in residential properties with four or fewer units.

TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - DEQ is moving to strengthen safeguards when working with asbestos in residential applications. The Department of Environmental Quality has proposed new administrative rules for handling asbestos, a mineral used in insulation, siding and other applications that can cause lung cancer and other afflictions.

If approved by the state Environmental Quality Commission, the rules would require developers or owners renovating residential buildings with four or fewer dwelling units to conduct an asbestos survey. In addition, procedures would be tightened for contractors handling asbestos-containing waste material, affecting packaging, labeling, transport and disposal. Materials would have to be packaged in two plastic bags instead of one. Laboratories that test for asbestos would have to participate in a nationally recognized testing program or the equivalent.

DEQ will hold a public hearing about the proposed new rules on Wednesday, June 20, at 6:30 p.m. at Oregon DEQ, 700 N.E. Multnomah St. in the Lloyd district in Portland, on the third-floor conference room.

Public comments may be submitted until June 22.

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