When there is a risk or suspicion of asbestos at a location, testing is necessary. Asbestos testing is a key step in the removal of dangerous asbestos products from homes, schools, workplaces, or other structures. There are millions of buildings across the United States containing components that have toxic levels of asbestos. Asbestos is a carcinogenic mineral that can cause serious health problems such as lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. The threat of developing any of these diseases is why both testing for asbestos and its removal are so important.

Removal of Asbestos Products or Samples

Asbestos testing can help determine if an item in a building is safe or in need of removal. For example, if an asbestos building component is left in place and is in good condition, it may not present any danger. In contrast, asbestos products that are old, in poor condition, and “friable” (crumbling) are a source of concern and danger. Even items or products that are merely being manipulated during the process of being removed are a health threat. These items may expose individuals in the immediate area to a cloud of asbestos fibers that are not visible to the naked eye. When these toxic fibers are in the air, they may inadvertently be inhaled by workers or anyone within their vicinity.

Asbestos Testing, Removal, and Sampling

When working in high-risk areas, it is important to know how to test for asbestos. Due to the serious risks associated with the problem, it’s often recommended that asbestos testing and removal be done by professionals; however, it is possible for you to personally take samples for asbestos testing. Most American cities of significant size have asbestos testing laboratories to which products samples can be sent. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if there are components of your home that you suspect may contain asbestos, you should call such a testing lab for advice on how to take a sample or to arrange for a qualified professional to take the sample for you. At this time, you should also inquire about the asbestos testing cost.

Asbestos Testing With Polarized Light Microscopy

Laboratories perform asbestos tests using very specific procedures. In accordance with EPA regulations, asbestos testing must be done by polarized light microscopy (PLM) analysis. The PLM analysis testing for asbestos reveals:

  • The particular type of asbestos in the sample
  • The percentage of asbestos in the sample

Although there are different types of asbestos, between 90 and 95 percent of what has been used in U.S. buildings is from chrysotile or white asbestos.

Find an Asbestos Testing Laboratory Near You

If you’re concerned about asbestos in your home, school, workplace, or elsewhere, it is important to understand what your rights are. An asbestos disease will have a profound effect on your life, and treatment can become expensive. You can contact Mesothelioma Treatment Centers to be connected with an asbestos law firm near you. An attorney will review your case and discuss your legal rights, your options, and the potential for compensation. In addition to finding an experienced asbestos lawyer, a law firm can also refer you to a reputable asbestos testing lab.