OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

November 17, 1994

Mr. Shashank Patel
Transamerican Plastics
5601 East Santa Ana Street
Ontario, California 91761-8699

Dear Mr. Patel:

Thank you for your letter of July 13, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) requirements for asbestos removal bags. You have assumed that OSHA requires that six mil thick bags be used for asbestos removal, and you question why OSHA has more stringent requirement than Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Construction Industry Occupational Exposure to Asbestos Standard, Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) 1926.58, does not require that plastic bags be six mil thick as you have stated. The standard reads in part that the bags will be sealed, labeled, and impermeable. It does not specify a particular thickness.

As you may be aware, OSHA published a new revised Asbestos standard on August 10, 1994. The new Construction standard, CFR 1926.1101(g)(1)(iii) requires "leak-tight" containers for the disposal of waste and debris contaminated with asbestos, which is consistent with the National Emission Standard for Hazardous Pollutants (NESHAP) requirements. There is not a mil thickness specified in this standard for disposal bags.

We hope this response addresses your concerns. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of Health Compliance at (202) 291-8036.


Ruth E. McCully, Director
Office of Health Compliance Assistance

Department of Labor,
OSHA, Room No. N3467,
Attn: Ruth McCully,
200 Constitution Avenue,
North West D.C. 20210

Dear Ms. McCully,

I am writing to clarify a requirement under the attached Code of Federal Regulations; Labor 29, Part 1926.58 relating to the millage requirement on asbestos removal bags. Per the code, the requirement is six mil thick plastic bags.

However, the attached correspondence with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that under their requirements there is no minimum millage as long as the bags remain leak tight. The attached letter from Dow U.S.A. also states that bags manufactured from prime virgin polyethylene have a superior tensile strength at a lower millage than those manufactured from reprocessed resin.

In light of the above can you please clarify why the requirements under the Code of Federal Regulations; Labor 29, Part 1926.58 are more stringent than those of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Assuming that the millage requirements can not be changed, then the next question is whether a double-bagged combination of three mil bags adding up to six mil satisfies the requirements under the code.

I look forward to hearing from you. In the mean time, if you have any questions, please call me at (909) 988 8555. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Very truly yours,

Shashank Patel

Mr. Michael Sember
National Plastek, Inc.
7050 Dutton Industrial Park Drive
Dutton, MI 49316

Dear Mr. Sember:

This is in response to your letter dated December 14, 1993 requesting a response from the Stationary Source Compliance Division on the subject of asbestos disposal bags. In particular, you want to know if the Series 65 asbestos bag meets the requirements of 40 CFR Part 61 Subpart M, the asbestos National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP).

Regulated asbestos-containing material (RACM) collected for disposal in accordance with section 61.150(a)(1)(iii) must be contained in leak-tight containers or wrapping. The asbestos NESHAP does not specify the type of material, or the minimum thickness of the container or wrapping. If the Series 65 asbestos bag, or any other container or wrapping is leak-tight, and handled in such a manner as to remain leak-tight until properly disposed of in accordance with the asbestos NESHAP, then that container will meet the leak-tight requirements of the asbestos NESHAP.


Thomas W. Ripp
Stationary Source Compliance Division
Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards