Decontamination regulations & environmental compliance analysis

Decontamination : What you need to know

Governing Law and Regulations

EPA requirements:

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Pesticide workers and handlers: 40 CFR 170.150 and 40 CFR 170.250

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB): 40 CFR 761.79 and 40 CFR 761.378

Treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDF): 40 CFR 264

OSHA requirements:

Asbestos (installation, use, and removal activities): 29 CFR 1926.1101

Bloodborne pathogens: 29 CFR 1910.1030

Hazardous waste operations and emergency response (HAZWOPER): 29 CFR 1910.120 (general industry) and 29 CFR 1926.65 (construction)

Respiratory protection: 29 CFR 1910.134(h)

General sanitation: 29 CFR 1910.141

Regulatory Agencies

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

See ADDRESSES & CONTACTS for addresses and telephone numbers.


This section covers regulatory requirements of decontamination for hazardous substances and bloodborne pathogens. It does not cover decontamination for biological, radiological, or nuclear agents or substances, nor does it cover decontamination of populations following a disaster or terrorist attack.

The purpose of the decontamination rules is to:

  • Protect public health and the environment.
  • Protect employees from injury or illness.

"Decontamination" refers to the removal of unwanted material from facilities, soils, people, or equipment by washing, chemical action, mechanical cleansing, or other techniques. It is a process of treatment that renders a surface or object safe to handle, use, or dispose of safely.

EPA and OSHA have adopted decontamination-related regulations for the following substances and related activities, which are described in this section:

  • Asbestos
  • Bloodborne pathogens
  • Emergency response to spills or releases of hazardous substances
  • Hazardous waste handling and disposal

Read more about Decontamination