How to Protect Yourself from Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos occurs naturally in the environment around the world, including Central and Northern California. The term asbestos refers to several varieties of mineral fibers that are mined and processed.

Because asbestos fibers are microscopic, lightweight, and are extremely resistant to heat and chemicals, asbestos became a valued building material throughout the 1900s. It has been used extensively in building materials and is commonly found in many buildings that were built prior to 1980 and in some buildings built post-1980. 

Exposure to asbestos when it is disturbed may cause asbestosis, cancer and/or mesothelioma. To learn more please visit the EPA's website.

The District regulates certain renovation and demolition projects that might involve the removal of asbestos-containing materials through Rule 1206 - Asbestos Removal, Renovation, and Demolition (11/15/2017). Improper removal of asbestos containing-materials can also result in violations of District Rule 51 - Nuisance.

There may be asbestos-containing building materials in your house that if improperly disturbed during a remodeling or demolition project, may pose a health risk to you, your family, and your community. There is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos. Three of the major health effects associated with asbestos exposure are:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that is found in the thin lining of the lung, chest and the abdomen
  • Asbestosis, a serious progressive, long-term, non-cancer disease of the lungs
See EPA's website for additional information

If you are planning to remodel your home or demolish a structure, the disturbance of any asbestos-containing materials can result in the release of asbestos fibers into the air. When you inhale asbestos fibers, your chances to develop negative health effects, such as cancer, increase. Most of the harmful impacts of asbestos will not be seen immediately as they often develop years after exposure occurs.

Any building material that is not glass, metal, wood or plastic may potentially contain asbestos. Asbestos has a higher likelihood of being used in the manufacturer of insulation, roofing materials, ceiling materials (acoustic, popcorn), wallboard, furnaces & air ducts, pipes and pipe wraps, flooring and exterior surfacing. Although building materials used prior to 1980 more commonly contain asbestos, it is still possible for buildings constructed after 1980 to contain asbestos. 

Trained and accredited asbestos professionals should take samples for analysis If done incorrectly, sampling can be more hazardous than leaving the material alone. Taking samples yourself is not recommended. Multiple trained and accredited asbestos professionals can be found in your local listings.

The District strongly recommends working with a trained and accredited asbestos professional who can take samples and test materials that can contain asbestos. District Rule 1206 does not require sampling and testing for the following remodeling projects:

  • Single family home with out any detached residential structures on the property(e.g. granny flat)
  • Residential condo unit when there are 4 or less condo units in a structure.
  • Remodeling projects that involve less than 100 square feet of any combination of building materials being disturbed in any consecutive 365-day period.

If you think there may be asbestos in your home, don’t panic. Asbestos-containing materials that aren’t damaged or improperly disturbed are not likely to pose a health risk. Usually, best practice is to leave asbestos-containing material in place if it is in good condition. Generally, asbestos-containing materials that are in good condition and will not be disturbed (by remodeling, for example) will not release asbestos fibers. Asbestos-containing materials may release fibers when they are disturbed, damaged, removed improperly, repaired, cut, torn, sanded, sawed, drilled, or scraped.

In general, there are two main types of accredited asbestos professionals that can be hired to handle asbestos-containing materials: 

  1. Asbestos Inspectors  - These individuals can have a Certified Asbestos Consultant (CAC), Site Surveillance Technician (SST), and/or EPA Building Inspector Certification. They can inspect a home or building, assess conditions, take samples of suspected materials for testing, and advise about what corrections are needed. If any repairs or removal of asbestos materials is chosen, inspectors can ensure the contractor performing the work follows proper procedures, including proper clean up, and can monitor the air to prevent exposure to asbestos fibers.
  2. Asbestos Contractors - These professionals can repair or remove asbestos-containing materials. Contractors are licensed by the California Contractors State License Board.

The District strongly recommends hiring a trained and accredited asbestos professional. However, District Rule 1206  does not require those trained professionals to remove asbestos-containing materials for the following remodeling projects: 

  • Remodeling projects at single family homes without any detached residential structures on the property (e.g. granny flat).
  • Remodeling projects at residential condo units when there are four (4) or less condo units in a structure.
  • Remodeling projects that involve less than a 100 square feet of Asbestos present in  any combination of building materials being disturbed in any consecutive 365-day period.


Asbestos for Homeowners and Renters

This information is intended to assist contractors, builder owners and/or their agents to understand the requirements of the notifications and to prevent inadvertent violations and penalties.

Rule 1206  applies to  renovations, asbestos removal or demolition  at a "Facility" or "Regulated Structure".

The term "Facility" is referenced many times in District Rule 1206 detailing which structures are regulated.  As defined in District Rule 1206, a "Facility" is: “any institutional, commercial, public, industrial or residential structure, installation, or building (including any structure, installation, or building containing condominiums or individual dwelling units operated as a residential cooperative, but excluding residential buildings having four or fewer dwelling units); any ship; and any asbestos containing waste materials disposal site.”

Any structure subject to the Rule 1206 continues to be regulated under the rule even if the use or function of that structure changes. Regulated structures include government buildings, residential facilities, buildings demolished for fire training, and buildings demolished for urban renewal projects. 

A regulated residential facility is any building, condominium, or apartment that contains more than four dwelling units. A regulated residential facility is also a group of buildings located on the same property and managed by a common entity, even when there are fewer than four dwelling units in each building; for example, homes managed by a homeowners association. A group of buildings is also regulated when not on the same contiguous parcel of land when they are involved in a coordinated renovation/demolition project.


The District has published a Compliance Advisory "Asbestos Removal Practices at Condominiums and Apartments" that discusses residential facilities requirements.  These requirements also apply to other commercial, institutional, and industrial facilities.


If more than 100 square feet of Regulated Asbestos-Containing Material (RACM) is cumulatively disturbed in any consecutive 365 days at a regulated facility, the project is subject to Rule 1206.

 The term Regulated Asbestos-Containing Material (RACM) refers to materials containing more than one percent asbestos and asbestos that is either friable (can be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by hand pressure), or non-friable materials in poor condition or that have become or are likely to become friable (airborne) through the use of tools, work practices, or the forces expected to act on the materials in the course of demolition or renovation projects.

Yes, prior to commencement of any renovation or demolition projects and prior to submitting the notifications required by Section (e) of Rule 1206, a facility survey shall be performed to determine the presence or absence of asbestos-containing materials, regardless of the age of the facility.

Prior to commencement of renovation or demolition projects and prior to submitting the notifications required by Section (e) of  Rule 1206 , a facility survey shall be performed to determine the presence or absence of asbestos-containing materials, regardless of the age of the facility.

Please review section (d) of  Rule 1206  for all survey requirements.

Persons conducting facility surveys shall have taken and passed a current EPA-approved Building Inspector Course. A current Site Surveillance Technician and Certified Asbestos Consultant certification will also be accepted.

A complete copy of the facility survey shall be maintained onsite for the duration of the renovation and/or demolition projects and shall be made available to the District upon request.

"Demolition" and "Renovation" are defined in District Rule 1206 and differ from some building department definitions.

 You "demolish" a facility when you remove or wreck any load-supporting structural member of that facility or perform any related handling operations. You also "demolish" a facility when you burn it.

You "renovate" a facility when you alter any part of that facility in any other manner. Renovation includes stripping or removing asbestos from the facility.

Hazardous Materials Questionnaire (or the online version ) may be required prior to applying for a building permit from your local agency.

Learn more about how to submit the Hazardous Materials Questionnaire.

All facility demolitions require a notification submittal to the District, even if no asbestos is present. All demolitions and renovations are "subject" to Rule 1206 as owners and operators must conduct a survey to determine if and how much asbestos is present at the site. Asbestos that is regulated or that may become regulated during the demolition, is required to be removed prior to the demolition.

An Asbestos Renovation or Demolition Notice of Intention form   is required for owners or operators of a facility:

  • Demolition of a facility.  Owners or operators are required to submit to the District a written notification ten (10) working days prior to starting the project , whether or not any asbestos was identified in the project survey.
  • Renovation of facilities involving at least 100 square feet or 20 cubic feet of Regulated Asbestos Containing Materials (RACM)  . Owners or operators are required to submit to the District a written notification ten (10) working days prior to starting the removal of RACM.

Certain emergency demolitions or emergency renovations may be eligible for expedited notification provisions provided they meet the requirements in Rule 1206.

All notifications must be completed on approved forms with all required information, and must be submitted with required fees.

All information required in Rule 1206 must  be included in the Notice of Intention form. Failure to do so could result in the issuance of a Notice of Violation.

The Hazardous Materials Questionnaire can be found here. Building departments through the County of San Diego may require you to submit a hazardous materials questionnaire form prior to conducting your renovation or demolition.

Learn more bout how to submit the Hazardous Materials Questionnaire.

You must start on the date stated on the notification. You do not need to wait for an inspector to start the work; you can start at any time on the notification start date.

The start date of a demolition project is the first day that a load bearing structural member of a facility is wrecked or taken out, including the intentional burning of a facility, along with any related handling operations.

The start date for a renovation project is the first date that Regulated Asbestos Containing Material (RACM) is removed or when operations or site preparation work begins that would break up, dislodge, or similarly disturb RACM.

If you cannot start on the date on the notification, you must contact the District as soon as possible and prior to the original start date. You can send in a change in start date notification by email to, voicemail at 858-586-2650 or in person at the District’s Office at 10124 Old Grove Road, SD 92131. 

Keep a copy of the notification and any revisions, asbestos survey, training certificates as applicable.

Notifications for renovation and demolition projects shall expire within 365 days from the effective date of the original notification. If a renovation or demolition project is to exceed 365 days, a new notification must be submitted to the District no later than ten (10) working days prior to expiration, in accordance with Rule 1206.

Other Local Regulatory Agencies may have requirements that could apply to your renovation or demolition in addition to District requirements:

County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health (DEH)

Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)

California Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA)

Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB)

California Air Resources Board (CARB)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Department of Labor (DOL)

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

Department of Transportation (DOT)

Notification Requirements

In San Diego County, notify the County of San Diego Air Pollution Control District for demolition or renovation operations subject to District Rule 1206 by submitting a notification online or by sending the notification to the District via e-mail at  To learn more about how to submit an online notification please click here.  You may also mail or hand-deliver the notification form to the District at 10124 Old Grove Road, SD 92131. The notification must be postmarked or delivered at least ten (10) working days before demolition, asbestos stripping, removal work or any other activity begins (such as site preparation that would break up, dislodge or similarly disturb asbestos material).

Notifications completed online have reduced fees. The notification fee can be found in Rule 40 Section (f)(2).

Submit Completed Asbestos Notification 


If paying by credit card (AmEx, Discover, Visa, MC) email or over the phone at 858-586-2600. If form is completed online there will be an option to pay during the online process, as seen in the video below.

By Mail:

Air Pollution Control District
10124 Old Grove Road
San Diego, CA 92131

For more information on how to complete the non-APCD portions of the Haz-Mat form, please contact the Environmental Health Department at (858) 505-6880 or

By E-mail:

Send completed form to


See how you can complete and submit your notifications online:

Monday-Friday, 7:00am-5:00pm
(858) 586-2650

District Business Program Specialist
(858) 586-2650