Bulk Asbestos Analysis Behind the Scenes
A homeowner recently brought a bulk sample into the lab and was quite interested in knowing exactly how her sample would be tested for asbestos. There are quite a few people who are experienced in proper sample collection, however other than dropping off the samples and reading the report, do you know how a bulk asbestos analysis is performed?
The sample is removed from the collection bag and a visual inspection is performed underneath a low-magnification stereoscope. Information such as the number and composition of layers is performed at this step.
A slide of each layer is then individually prepared for analysis under the microscope. Depending on the material, this can include the use of organic solvents, acid, scraping, and/or crushing.
Once sufficiently broken up, a slide is prepared with the sample and dispersion staining oil. Dispersion staining oil allows the analyst to positively identify and speciate the different asbestos forms from other minerals.
If asbestos is found, a visual estimation of how much asbestos is present relative to the other parts of the layer is made. The remaining non-asbestos composition of the layer is determined, and then the next layer is analyzed in the same fashion.
Once all samples are analyzed, a report is generated and released to the client.
Our NVLAP accredited laboratory supports public and private clients throughout the US , Canada, Korea and Japan. Additionally, our in-house laboratory provides analysis for RGA’s offices in Seattle, WA, Orange County and the SF Bay Area. A client oriented asbestos and metals laboratory like RGA’s provides its clients with quick turnaround times at cost effective prices.
Matthew Quarterman, Lab Analyst – Seattle, WA