Asbestos and Lead in Buildings, Homes and Other Structures

Some buildings contain hazardous materials. Asbestos and lead are common building materials that can cause harmful health effects. Because of this, there are laws in place to protect the health of Vermonters.

In this section, you will find information on the asbestos and lead regulatory requirements when doing this type of work on buildings or other structures:

  • Maintenance
  • Repairs
  • Renovation
  • Demolition
  • Cleaning up after a fire, flooding or storm damage
What you need to know about asbestos

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used in building construction materials for insulation and as a fire retardant. Other manufactured goods that may contain asbestos include building materials (for example, roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products), friction products (for example, automobile clutch, brake and transmission parts), heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets and coatings. Some vermiculite or talc products may contain asbestos.

If these materials are disturbed or damaged in any way — such as when renovating or demolishing a building — asbestos fibers can be released into the air and breathed in. Exposure to asbestos fibers increases the risk of developing health effects — such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Prevent exposure to asbestos

Exposure to asbestos can be prevented, as long as building owners, homeowners, property owners and contractors know how to reduce or eliminate exposure to airborne asbestos fibers, and what danger signs to look for.

Call your health care provider if you think you or a family member have been exposed to asbestos, even if you or they do not feel sick.


Below are links to resources and more information on asbestos from the Health Department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Asbestos Information (EPA)Information on what asbestos is, how to protect your family, asbestos in school buildings, requirements for building owners and managers, asbestos at cleanup sites, and asbestos professionals
Asbestos and Your Health (ATSDR)Information on asbestos exposure and reducing exposure, health effects of asbestos, ATSDR’s asbestos work, and links to more resources on asbestos
Protect Your Family from Asbestos-Contaminated Vermiculite Insulation (EPA)Information on how to protect yourself and your family if you suspect that you might have vermiculite insulation from Libby, Montana
Current Best Practices for Vermiculite Attic Insulation (ATSDR and EPA)A brochure summarizing current best practices for what to do if you have vermiculite insulation in your attic that has been contaminated with asbestos
Vermont Regulations for Asbestos ControlInformation on V.S.A. Title 18, Chapter 26.
What you need to know about lead

What is lead?

Lead is a highly toxic metal that has been commonly used in many household, industrial and automobile products — such as paint, solder, batteries, brass, car radiators, bullets, pottery, etc. Too much lead in the body, or lead poisoning, can cause serious and permanent health problems. Children and pregnant people are at special risk.

You can have lead poisoning without noticing any symptoms. Even if you feel fine, lead can start building up in your body and may damage your kidneys, brain, and your digestive, reproductive and blood systems. In children, lead can slow down growth, impair development and learning, and can cause behavior problems. In people who are pregnant, lead can increase the risk of miscarriage and cause babies to be born too early, too small, or with learning or behavior problems.

Prevent exposure to lead

Lead poisoning can be prevented when homeowners, tenants and contractors know how to reduce or eliminate exposure to lead dust, deteriorated (chipping or peeling) lead-based paint, lead-contaminated soil as well as what danger signs to look for. 

Call your health care provider if you think you or a family member have been exposed to lead, even if you do not feel sick.

Learn more about lead hazards and lead poisoning


Below are links to resources and more information on lead from the Health Department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Lead Hazards and Lead PoisoningInformation about sources of lead—paint, drinking water, soil, hobbies and crafts, products and imported goods, on the job, and in vintage, antique, and salvaged materials—lead-safe cleaning, and information for refugees and New Americans
Lead Hazards in HousingA fact sheet summarizing the sources of lead hazards found in housing, soil and drinking water, and what lead-safe work practices are
ToxFAQs™ for Lead (ATSDR)A fact sheet that answers the most frequently asked health questions about lead
Lead Information (EPA)Information on lead, safety, the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Program, and the Abatement and Evaluation Program
Safety and Health Topics: Lead (OSHA)Information for workers on OSHA standards, health effects, evaluating exposure and controls, and enforcement
Vermont Regulations for Lead ControlInformation on the lead rule effective 7/1/2024. 
Contact Us

Asbestos and Lead Regulatory Program 

Mailing Address:

VT Dept of Health
Environmental Health
Asbestos & Lead Regulatory Program
280 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671-8350

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 802-863-7220 or 800-439-8550 (toll-free in Vermont)

Last Updated: