Asbestos is a mineral fiber that occurs in rock and soil. Because of its fiber strength and heat resistance asbestos has been used in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire retardant.
Asbestos has also been used in a wide range of manufactured goods, mostly in building materials (roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles, paper products, and asbestos cement products), friction products (automobile clutch, brake, and transmission parts), heat-resistant fabrics, packaging, gaskets, and coatings.make an appointment
Before you disturb any material you suspect might contain asbestos, it is a good idea to have a sample of that material tested by a qualified professional. Our fully-accredited experts provide fast and confidential testing. You will get results within days.
Asbestos testing should always be done by an expert! The technicians here at Envirowatch are the experts you can trust for your home or business.
Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) is the technique most often employed for the analysis of bulk building materials. The light microscopy technique utilizes the unique features of polarized light to observe mineral specific optical properties. In this manner, PLM can differentiate asbestos from non-asbestos fibers and further classify the various species that compose the asbestos mineral family. Moreover, the technique records the identity of the non-asbestos fibrous component of each bulk building material sample.
This method can be used for determination of asbestos content from 0 to 100% asbestos. The detection limit has not been adequately determined, although for selected samples, the limit is very low, depending on the number of particles examined. For mostly homogeneous, finely divided samples, with no difficult fibrous interferences, the detection limit is below 1%. For inhomogeneous samples (most samples), the detection limit remains undefined. NIST has conducted proficiency testing of laboratories on a national scale.
Although each round is reported statistically with an average, control limits, etc., the results indicate a difficulty in establishing precision especially in the low concentration range. It is suspected that there is significant bias in the low range especially near 1%.EPA tried to remedy this by requiring a mandatory point counting scheme for samples less than 10%. The point counting procedure is tedious, and may introduce significant biases of its own. It has not been incorporated into this method.
TEM represents the most sophisticated technology available for characterizing asbestos minerals. This technique is now the standard for most airborne investigations including post abatement clearance testing as well as diagnostic and environmental monitoring activities.
The AHERA TEM method is the accepted state-of-the-art to determine background or clearance levels of asbestos. Even small fibers are counted, so it gives a fair indication of whether it is healthy to breathe the air or not. The strict AHERA protocol calls for 5 filters inside an area to be tested, but the TEM methodology can be used on any number of filters, which we call modified AHERA. Since only a few fibers make the difference between clean and dirty, a single sample does not give as statistically representative a view of air levels as do multiple samples.
The transmission electron microscope (TEM) operates on the same basic principles as the light microscope but uses electrons instead of light. What you can see with a light microscope is limited by the wavelength of light. TEMs use electrons as "light source" and their much lower wavelength makes it possible to get a resolution a thousand times better than with a light microscope.
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