From Lab Services
EHS Laboratories has the capacity to analyze and provide accurate results on approximately a quarter of a million asbestos samples per year. The asbestos laboratory consists of three categories: Bulk Materials (PLM). Airborne (PCM). Soil, Sediment and Vermiculite.
Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) is a technique used for the analysis of bulk materials. This technique utilizes the polarized light to observe specific optical properties. Our PLM analyst will distinguish asbestos from non-asbestos fibers and further classify the various species that compose the asbestos mineral family. Additionally, our analyst records the identity of the non-asbestos fibrous component of each bulk building material sample.
Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) is a technique to measure fiber concentrations of air samples. This is most often done at asbestos abatement sites and is sometimes applied during environmental monitoring, personnel monitoring, and clearance testing.
Soil and Sediment is analyzed at EHS Labs using a qualitative method. There are additional analysis techniques for soil and sediment. One is an EPA method called CARB 435 and another is an ASTM method.
Vermiculite is a naturally-occurring mineral composed of shiny flakes, resembling mica. When heated to a high temperature, flakes of vermiculite expand as much as 8-30 times their original size. The expanded vermiculite is a light-weight, fire-resistant, and odorless material and has been used in numerous products, including insulation for attics and walls. Sizes of vermiculite products range from very fine particles to large (coarse) pieces nearly an inch long. EPA suggests a multi-tiered analysis involving wet separation techniques in conjunction with PLM and TEM gravimetric analysis. However, according to the EPA, you should assume that vermiculite insulation contains asbestos. Please contact the lab for more information regarding this procedure.