Asbestos testing is the method to determine the presence of asbestos in the industrial processes, residential buildings and objects. Asbestos had been commonly used as construction materials in buildings till few years back. A mineral compound, asbestos is the common name for a group of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals found in certain rock formations. During mining and processing, asbestos produces very thin and light fibers that are easily released into the air.
Once released into the air, the asbestos particles can remain suspended for a long time. These fibers are invisible to human eyes and when inhaled can cause serious health problems including lung cancer. This is the reason why asbestos testing is a necessary safeguard for people handling and working with asbestos materials. People who are handling asbestos or products containing asbestos, including those involved in mining, producing or processing asbestos are at a great health risk. Natural resources containing asbestos and pipes made of cement can contaminate even drinking water.
Asbestos testing is must and strongly suggested for the areas where asbestos related industries were functional or asbestos was used as a material.
Establishing the presence of Asbestos
We can safely assume that a material is asbestos or contains asbestos unless it is clearly otherwise on the label or is verified by the manufacturer. Alternatively, it has to undergo a process of asbestos testing to verify the absence or presence of asbestos materials. Asbestos testing is especially necessary if such material was on the EPA’s Sample List of Suspect Asbestos-Containing Materials Exit Ecology and was manufactured with asbestos in the past.
Asbestos sampling is the precursor for asbestos testing. Asbestos sampling and analyzing should be undertaken in a laboratory by a qualified personnel. It is dangerous to attempt this yourself, without acquiring sufficient information on the process and without proper precautions. If access to a laboratory is not possible and you wish to take the sample yourself, you must be very careful not to release asbestos fibers into the air or onto yourself.
Method of Asbestos Testing
Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) analysis of suspect material by specialized microscopes is a requirement of the EPA for asbestos testing. The results of asbestos testing establish the percentage and type of asbestos present in the sample material.