Asbestos Testing – Why?
Asbestos testing seeks to detect the presence of asbestos in any given material. When any asbestos containing material is disturbed, it releases very thin invisible fibers that may remain suspended in the air for many hours, and have a causative association with a plethora of disease manifestations involving the epithelial lining of human visceral cavities, including the deadly mesothelioma. Much asbestos containing material is being unearthed nowadays due to intense remodeling and renovation of old structures, dating back to days when asbestos was extensively used in construction.
Asbestos Testing- When?
EPA’s Sample List of Suspect Asbestos-Containing Materials Exit Ecology lists the possible candidates for asbestos testing. When in doubt, err on the side of caution. Any surfacing agent or thermal insulation material used in buildings constructed earlier than 1980 is presumed as containing asbestos (WISHA Interim Interpretive Memorandum #99-1-C, January 19, 1999), until proved otherwise by laboratory analysis.
– By either specialized laboratory personnel or under guidance.
– Minimize dispersal of fibers
– Avoid heating/cooling draughts
– Minimize the handling time and amount
– Spray the sample with fine water and/or detergent droplets
– Use a sharp knife to cut neatly through the whole depth
– Place a plastic spread below the collection area
– Minimize exposure to self/those in the vicinity
– Handle the sample alone
– Wear gloves and mask
– Drop neatly into an appropriate container
– Minimize dispersal
– Proper sealing of the container
– Patching of the sampled area
– Proper disposal of the plastic spread
– Cleaning of the area
– Label the sample meticulously
Asbestos testing is carried out by a certified laboratory using polarized light microscopy (PLM) as per the EPA recommendations.
Asbestos Testing- Results and Interpretation
This form of asbestos testing is qualitative as well as quantitative .The results are given as the percentage (1 to 100) and type of asbestos (chrysotile or white asbestos, Amosite or brown asbestos, and Crocidolite or blue asbestos).