Asbestos is the name of a group of highly fibrous minerals with separable, long and thin fibers. Asbestos fibers are strong and flexible enough to be spun and woven. Asbestos fibers are heat and chemical resistant, making them useful for many industrial purposes.
The term asbestos typically is used to describe six regulated, naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals: Chrysotile, Amosite, Crocidolite, Anthophyllite, Tremolite and Actinolite. When disturbed, asbestos has the potential to release fibers into the air where they can become an inhalation hazard. These fibers, so small that they are typically invisible to the naked eye, can remain airborne for extended periods of time.
Asbestos has been used commonly in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire-retardant. Since asbestos fibers are resistant to heat and most chemicals, they have been mined for use in over 3,000 different products including roofing materials, brake pads and cement pipe often used in distributing water to communities. Today, asbestos is most commonly found in older homes, in pipe and furnace insulation materials, asbestos shingles, millboard, textured paints and other coating materials as well as floor tiles.
Elevated concentrations of airborne asbestos can occur after asbestos-containing materials are disturbed by cutting, sanding or other remodeling activities. Asbestos can be positively identified only by a trained analyst using specialized microscopes.
EMSL Analytical, Inc. has trained and experienced staff along with the necessary equipment and instrumentation to provide quality asbestos analysis of air, water, bulk, soil and/or dust samples. We offer various methodologies (NIOSH, EPA, OSHA, ASTM, etc.) utilizing the following:
• Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM)
• Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM)
• Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)
• Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
• X-Ray Diffraction (XRD)
• Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM)
EMSL has a dedicated soil laboratory to perform specialized prep techniques for soil and rock related to Naturally Occurring Asbestos (NOA) and asbestos contamination sites. Equipment on-site includes Jaw Crushers, Plate Grinder, Freezer Mills, Turbula Mixer, Riffle Splitters and equipment to perform the Incremental Sampling Methodology (ISM). Our laboratory has extensive experience working closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other large clients on specialized, large scale sites.
Asbestos Division Services Overview