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Oregon asbestos rules relaxed for fire debris

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon officials are relaxing some requirements for handling ash and debris containing asbestos to speed work in removing debris from homes and buildings destroyed by wildfires.

The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission on Friday also authorized the temporary stockpiling of asbestos-containing debris before being taken to landfills.

Asbestos can cause deadly mesothelioma cancer and other illnesses.

The rule changes apply to those who decide to hire licensed asbestos abatement contractors.

The changes include suspension of fees and notification requirements, except for commercial and larger residential properties.

Open accumulation of asbestos debris is allowed, as is the use of mechanical equipment.

Residential property owners with four or fewer dwelling units can also do the work themselves if certain conditions are met.

Those conditions include not using any paid labor and wetting debris to prevent airborne particles.

Hazardous debris in a Phoenix neighborhood destroyed in the Almeda fire. Mail Tribune file photo.