Just as there are many types of asbestos containing material, there are equally as many methods available for analyzing them. The most common method is EPA 600/R-93-116; while this method is suitable for the detection of asbestos in certain materials, it is not for others, such as vermiculite.
Vermiculite is composed of plate like layers that are held tightly together by bonding forces. The EPA 600/R-93-116 preparation method is not adequate for the detection of asbestos that may be trapped between the layers. Further, laboratories have disclaimers that state they cannot guarantee negative results by this method! A false reading may result in unnecessary and costly removal of material that is not truly asbestos containing.
The best method of the detection of asbestos fibres in vermiculite is The California Air Resource Board 435 (CARB 435) prep method. This method involves a fine milling of the sample to create a completely homogenous mixture. This maximizes the possibility of detection and increases the accuracy of quantification offering confirmation as to the presence or absence of asbestos fibres that other method cannot. Complete certainty is imperative when considering legal and health implications of an incorrect analysis.
As always, we implement the highest degree of care for our clients by providing the safest methods and equipment available to minimize potential exposure to airborne fibers during sampling.
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