There are three terms associated with asbestos dust particle size that you will encounter. These terms are micron, nanometer, and angstrom. To give you an idea of their size, in 1 meter there are 1 million microns, 1 billion nanometers, and 10 billion angstroms.
It was not until the advent of the transmission electron microscope and the scanning electron microscope in the latter part of the 1950s that the true size (200 to 250 angstroms) of an asbestos particle was discovered. Air that appears dust-free may contain millions of disease-producing asbestos dust particles. These minuscule' particles cannot be seen by the naked eye and can remain suspended in the air for months. In working to solve this problem, you must take air samples to ascertain the severity of the situation. The air must be scrubbed with a special air filtration machine to remove the particles.
Naval guidance for asbestos handling, demolition, and disposal are covered by OPNAVINST 5100.23. However, you should also learn the local laws and restrictions pertinent to the locale in which you work. These federal, state, and local laws are important. In an overseas location, the laws of the host country must be researched and clearly understood in the construction planning phase. It is inevitable that somewhere in the disposal cycle, transporting of this type of material to a disposal site will take place over roads not directly under Navy control.
Always research the laws governing asbestos. If you are continually involved with asbestos, you need to stay informed of current regulations and laws because they are constantly changing and being updated.
There are also many chemicals and pesticides that release harmful and deadly fumes into the air-for example, chlorine gas. It is important for you to become familiar with all of the materials used by shop personnel within your jurisdiction. Normally, toxic substances have warning labels attached to them. Once the chemicals being used are identified, you can obtain supplemental information from the unit environmental protection office or from the local safety office.
Scientists have determined that chlorofluoro carbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are linked to the depletion of the earth's ozone layer. In response to this environmental damaging threat, CFCs and HCFCs are being phased out of production. Additionally, the use and handling of refrigerants that contain CFCs and HCFCs must comply with the EPA Clean Air Act of 1990. Naval guidance may be found in OPNAVINST.5090.2, Management of Ozone Depleting Substances. This instruction provides policies, responsibilities, and guidance with respect to Navy actions for elimination of ozone-depleting substances. As a supervisor, ensure that shop personnel working with CFCs and HCFCs are licensed, trained properly with the current techniques of using and handling refrigerants, and aware of EPA and Navy guidance on handling CFCs and HCFCs.Continue Reading