What is Asbestos?

A silent but very deadly monster may be living in your buildings.

Perhaps one of the more dangerous substances when disturbed, asbestos can threaten your health and put you at deadly risk for lung-damaging illnesses and/or cancer.

Thankfully, at EHS, we test samples to determine the amount of fibrous silicate mineral asbestos that are present in any given building materials to ensure professional safety. It is important that samples are properly tested and transported so that the necessary precautions may be taken.

In this post, we will talk about the locations that are more susceptible to containing asbestos, sample-testing and the importance of removal.

Where Can It Be Found?

Because of its strength, durability and its heat resistance, asbestos was one of the more common building materials for many decades. Due to the risks it poses, it was officially designated a carcinogen in the 70’s, becoming highly regulated by the EPA with forbidden applications. Despite the decrease in application, small amounts of minerals are still allowed in products with 1% of asbestos being legal to use.

This means that both structures that were built before the 70’s and modern infrastructures are likely to have asbestos. Here are the top locations where asbestos will likely be found:

  1. Shingles
  2. Ceiling tiles
  3. Flooring
  4. Vermiculite insulation
  5. Concrete
  6. Ductwork
  7. Attics
  8. Basements

Because of the serious threats that they pose, potential asbestos-induced building materials need to be treated very cautiously and with the utmost seriousness. The first step is to carefully and professionally remove samples and submit them for testing at an accredited asbestos laboratory.

Asbestos can be very difficult to identify to the naked eye since it is typically mixed with other substances. If asbestos is even slightly suspected, contact a professional and experienced laboratory for proper sampling.

Testing Services for Asbestos

There are two main ways to test materials and substances to see if they contain asbestos. Providing accurate results, Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) and Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) are the more common of techniques conducted by labs.

Accredited analysts will use PLM to observe optical properties, distinguishing between asbestos and non-asbestos fibers.

PCM allows experienced analysts to measure the fibrous concentrations of obtained air samples. This usually occurs during environmental, personnel and clearance monitoring.

What To Do About Asbestos

If left not properly tested/identified, exposure to asbestos can lead to serious threats and cancer risks such as:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Lung cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Laryngeal cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Pharyngeal cancer
  • Colorectal cancer

The best way to protect your health and the health of others is to professionally identify substances and building materials that contain even minute amounts of asbestos.

At EHS, we are committed to customer service, providing timely results with state-of-the-art testing supplies.

If you have any questions or concerns about your samples, please do not hesitate to contact us.