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Asbestos-containing materials in abandoned residential dwellings in Detroit

A. Franzblau, A.H. Demond, S.K. Sayler, H. D'Arcy, R.L. Neitzel
Science of the total environment 2020 v.714 pp. 136580
asbestos, insulating materials, residential housing, vermiculite
The efforts of many municipalities to demolish abandoned residential dwellings (ARDs) are hampered by the presence of asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in these structures. However, the extent of such materials is unknown. Our study sought to characterize ACMs present in ARDs demolished in Detroit.Working with the City of Detroit, we obtained information on all ARDs demolished from 2014 to 2017. We randomly sampled 605 ARDs and analyzed the presence, type, and amount of ACM present, and the associated abatement and demolition costs.Asbestos was present in about 95% of the sampled ARDs. The most common types of ACMs were flooring, roofing, siding, and duct insulation. The material containing the greatest fraction of asbestos was duct insulation. The type of asbestos generally present was chrysotile. Only eight (1%) ARDs contained commercial amphibole asbestos; another 36 contained vermiculite. The total cost of demolition averaged $13,645 per home, of which 20.1% was asbestos abatement.The majority of the ACM in the ARDs was nonfriable and consisted of chrysotile. This study contributes information about the nature and extent of ACM in ARDs, which can provide part of the foundation for making an assessment of possible asbestos-containing air emissions during the demolitions of ARDs, and the nature or extent of pre-demolition abatement that may be needed (if any) to protect the public's health.