EPOCH -- Leaders in Asbestos Analysis

By: Epoch Analytical  09-12-2011
Keywords: Building Materials, Asbestos, fibres

As an analytical testing laboratory, we specialize in the analysis of hazardous building materials such as asbestos, lead, mould as well as test indoor air quality.

Sample analysis includes the detection or identification of asbestos in bulk samples using Stereoscope Magnification and combined Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) in accordance to Environmental Protection Act Method # EPA/600/R-93/116; and, EPA/600/M4-82-020.

Bulk Sample Asbestos Identification

Examination of samples for asbestos content was conducted in accordance to EPA/600/R-93/116 or EPA/600/M4-82-020 methodologies using polarized light microscopy (PLM). This method is the most widely used method for estimating asbestos in bulk building materials and works well for most sample types. Multiple layers of samples are analyzed and reported separately. All analysts are derived from calibrated visual estimate and measured in weight percent unless otherwise noted. Please note that the EPA test method has limitation for quantifying the percentage of samples with low asbestos concentration. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) would be encouraged for customers to obtain accurate results in these situations.

Bulk Sample Identifcation Techniques

All samples are analyzed first through stereo binocular examination. By magnifying a bulk sample at up to 40x, the analyst is able to evaluate and extract suspicious fibres that possess the morphological characteristics of asbestos. From there, fibres are mounted on a slide with a refractive index oil and then analyzed with the Polarized Light Microscope (PLM).

Polarized light microscopy (PLM) analysis is the most commonly accepted technique for analysing bulk samples for asbestos. Identification of asbestos is based on the determination of optical properties displayed when the sample is treated with various dispersion staining liquids. Identification is further substantiated by fibre morphology and the effect of polarized light on the fibres. PLM analysis is specific to fibrous materials and allows for the determination of:

• Presence and amount of asbestos in the sample
• Type of asbestos

Keywords: Analytical Testing, Asbestos, Building Materials, fibres, Hazardous Building Materials

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