What is Asbestos and Why is Laboratory Testing Important?
Asbestos describes a number of naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals. Asbestos is an excellent insulator for sound, heat and electricity. The fibers are very durable and therefore asbestos seemed like an ideal building material in the past. However, asbestos is a known carcinogen, which may cause lung cancer (mesothelioma) or other illnesses.
Differentiating a materials containing asbestos can be difficult, as many asbestos containing materials are indistinguishable from those that don't. Common builing materials such as floor tiles, linoleum, drywall, drywall joint compound, ceiling stipple, and ceiling tiles may contain asbestos. Different manufacturers or different batches of materials may or may not have contained asbestos. Therefore renovations and repairs over time may have removed or added asbestos hazards without altering appearance. Often the only way to differentiate these materials is through laboratory testing.
By Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM)
The same reliable service that you have come to expect from us is now available for bulk asbestos, NIOSH 9002 and EPA 600/R-93/116(Gravimetric) methods.
Our Bulk Asbestos Services by PLM are accredited by CALA, and we actively participate in AIHA's Bulk Asbestos Proficiency Analytical Testing program (BAPAT).
PLM is an industry and government accepted method for identification of asbestos in bulk samples. Fibers are extracted and examined by a trained analyst to identify asbestos.
Bulk Asbestos Sampling Procedures
Working with asbestos in the workplace has specific requirements. Please refer to local laws and guidelines to find out your legal rights and responsibilities regarding working with asbestos.
Please read through the links provided below for more information.
Sampling procedures for Vermiculite and Bulk samples are available on pages 82 & 96 of the Alberta Asbestos Abatement Manual.
Sample Container Requirements
- All samples must be received in sealed containers (ie. properly sealed ziploc bags.
- Exterior of sample container/bag must be free of dust or debris.
- One sample consists of one product only, and individual products MUST be collected and sealed in separate containers.
- Sample containers must be appropriate WHMIS labels with the following information:
- Sample Description (should match Chain of Custody & Analytical Request Form).
- Product Description (i.e. Floor Tile, Vermiculite, etc).
- A statement indicating the contents may contain asbestos.
- The statement “Hazardous laboratory sample. For hazard information or in an emergency call …” and an emergency telephone number.
Samples may be rejected if improperly packaged. Persons bringing improperly contained samples into Bio-Chem Consulting Services (1980) Ltd. premises will be billed for any and all Damages & Cleaning costs incurred (including but not limited to costs related to lost business, medical expenses, air testing & clearance). Please note that these are based on Alberta Government Occupational Health & Safety Guidelines.