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Various techniques employed for detecting the presence of pollutants in asbestos

Various techniques employed for detecting the presence of pollutants in asbestos

Jun 13, 2018

Australia has the 2nd highest rate of mesothelioma deaths in the world, following the United Kingdom. Mesothelioma is a rare variety of cancer typically caused by asbestos exposure affecting more than 10,000 people since the beginning of 1980s. According to the cancer experts, more than 25,000 people may succumb to this disease and die from it in the next four decades. Various methods of testing asbestos have been developed to find out the presence of asbestos and the method for asbestos testing Gold Coast professionals use is largely dependent on the type of matrix that is to be analysed.

asbestos testing gold coast

There are several methods of asbestos testing Gold Coast professionals use, and some of the common ones are:

Airborne asbestos:

In order to measure the fiber concentration of airborne samples, Phase Contrast Microscopy or PCM is widely used. This is normally conducted at any asbestos abatement centre, and is routinely applied for personnel monitoring, environmental monitoring and clearance test for small abatement tasks.

This technique has the benefit of faster turnaround time and cost efficiency. This light microscope procedure can operate at magnifications of 400X and is able to resolve fibre particles that are larger than 0.25 microns in diameter.

PCM technique is not utilized for distinguishing asbestos fibres from other fibres like cellulose, mineral wool, fiberglass, gypsum, etc., but this test is proficient in delivering an overall reading of the presence of different types of fibres in the sample.

When fibres smaller than 0.25 microns in diameter are required to be detected and identified, the use of TEM is needed for differentiating the types of fibres.

Transmission Electron Microscopy:

This method of asbestos testing Gold Coast professionals use offers the most sophisticated technology for characterizing various asbestos minerals. It has now become the standard for most airborne investigations that include diagnostic and environmental monitoring tasks and post abatement clearance testing.

Bulk building materials

The analysis for asbestos content in bulk building materials is generally conducted by various tests that include PLM, and sometimes by XRD, SEM and TEM.

Polarised Light Microscopy or PLM

This technique of asbestos testing Gold Coast professionals use is a most commonly employed technique for analysing the bulk building materials. It utilizes the individualistic features of polarized light beams to detect mineral specific optical properties. This way PLM is able to differentiate asbestos materials from non-asbestos fibres as well as classifies the different species that comprise the asbestos mineral family. Also, this Gold Coast asbestos testing can record and detect the identity of those non-fibrous components present in the bulk building sample.

The Polarised Light Microscopy technique conducted by SAES Safe Air Environmental Services is a cost-effective way of screening large amount of samples. But it has some limitations like the PCM technique due to various interferences present in the building material matrix such as tar and petroleum binding particles, sub-micron particulate, etc.

The results are delivered as a percentage of the entire sample. This best asbestos testing in Gold Coast makes use of a few protocols for the process of quantification that include point counting and visual estimation, gravimetric reduction protocols, etc. Each of these tests is essential in evaluating and detecting the various non-building materials and contaminants in the asbestos sheet.

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