Asbestos and Lead Information for Municipal Officials

Asbestos and Lead Information for Municipal Officials

The information below is for:

  • Town health officers
  • City or town officials
  • Zoning, fire or code enforcement officials

Asbestos and lead pose health risks, and they may be found in buildings and other structures. Because of this, the Health Department and the Environmental Protection Agency have specific requirements for the maintenance, renovation and demolition of buildings and other structures.

Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are only dangerous when they are disturbed or handled incorrectly. If ACMs are not handled properly, asbestos particles can be breathed in. Even a small amount of ACM can cause health effects.  

Lead-based paint becomes a hazard when it is disturbed. This can be from chipping and peeling paint, when painted surfaces rub together, or when the paint is not properly sanded, scraped or burned. If lead-based paint is not handled properly, lead dust can be breathed in or swallowed by workers and by people, especially children, who use the building or other structure.

Learn more about the hazards and health effects of lead and asbestos

What is the process for planning a renovation or demolition?


  • Before renovating or demolishing a building, an inspection is required and must be conducted by a Vermont-certified asbestos inspector.
  • Any asbestos-containing materials must be removed by Vermont licensed contractors before the renovation or demolition starts.
  • The Health Department must be notified before any renovation or demolition work starts.
  • Follow all asbestos-related requirements.


  • Assume lead-based paint is present in any building or other structure built before 1978, or hire a licensed lead inspector to test for lead.
  • Hire an EPA Lead-Safe Certified Firm to do renovation or repair work in areas where there is lead-based paint.
  • Make sure lead-safe work practices are followed.

Unsafe work practices that disturb lead-based paint will create lead hazards (see Section 2.2.28). Under Vermont law, if lead hazards are created in any building or structure, the owner will be responsible for the cleanup that will require them to hire a Vermont-licensed lead abatement contractor.

Where can I find information and trainings for town health officers?
How can I report an asbestos-related or lead-related complaint?
What are Essential Maintenance Practices (EMPs) compliance statements?


EMPs do not apply to asbestos.


If a residential rental property or child care facility was built before 1978, the landlord, property owner or property management company is required to:

  1. Complete EMPs annually (must be completed by a certified person)
  2. Sign a compliance statement certifying that EMPs have been done
  3. Provide a copy of the compliance statement to their tenants, their insurance carrier, and the Health Department

Learn more about EMPs and the Vermont Lead Law

Where can I find contractors that handle asbestos or lead?
What are safe work practices for asbestos and lead?


Under Vermont law, only licensed contractors are allowed to perform asbestos abatement activities and must follow the regulations regarding the handling and disposing of asbestos-containing materials.

Unsafe handling of asbestos-containing materials often leads to the need for asbestos cleanup by a Vermont-licensed asbestos contractor.


Under Vermont law, contractors are required to use lead-safe work practices.

Unsafe work practices that disturb lead-based paint will create lead hazards (see Section 2.2.28). Under Vermont law, if lead hazards are created in any building or structure, you will be responsible for the cleanup that will require you to hire a Vermont-licensed lead abatement contractor.

Prohibited practices may be allowed if specifically authorized in writing by the Health Department. Depending on the property and the work being performed, EMP (Essential Maintenance Practices) or RRP (Repair, Renovation, or Paint) certification may be required.

How can I test for asbestos or lead hazards?


If you want to know whether there are asbestos-containing materials in a home, building, structure or material, hire a Vermont-licensed asbestos inspector to conduct an inspection.


Lead-Based Paint

If you want to know whether lead-based paint is on a home, building or other structure, hire a Vermont-certified lead inspector or risk assessor to conduct a lead inspection or risk assessment. A lead inspection determines the presence or absence of lead-based paint on painted or coated surfaces. A risk assessment identifies lead hazards from deteriorated paint, dust and bare soil, and ways to control the lead hazards.

Drinking Water

Test kits for lead in drinking water can be purchased from the Health Department Laboratory. Find out more about testing for lead in drinking water

Where can I learn more about lead hazards and preventing lead poisoning?
Where can I find informational materials about asbestos and lead (posters, fact sheets, etc)?

More information

Vermont Regulations for Asbestos Control
Vermont Regulations for Lead Control


Asbestos & Lead Regulatory Program
108 Cherry St., PO Box 70
Burlington, VT 05402
Phone: 802-863-7220 or
800-439-8550 (toll-free within VT)
Fax: 802-863-7483