Because of its versatility, asbestos was once considered a miracle material. It was used as an insulator, fire retardant, and sound dampener. It was included as a component in countless building supplies, such as insulation, acoustical tiles, wallboard, pipe wrapping, or even the gasket of your furnace. Asbestos was extremely popular throughout most of the 20th century, but today scientific testing has shown asbestos to be a serious health risk. Inhaling asbestos fibers has been conclusively linked to mesothelioma and other cancers. Because of its ubiquity, asbestos is still present in many homes and businesses. To protect your health, if there’s any reason to believe you have asbestos on your property, you should have professional asbestos testing.
Multiple methods may be employed for asbestos testing. One method is called Phase Contrast Microscopy, or PCM. With PCM, the testers collect air samples and isolate any fibers contained in them. The fibers are examined under a microscope to get a reading on how many fibers are present in a given volume of air. This method is used to check for airborne fibers in general rather than to isolate asbestos fibers specifically. Additional methods may be needed to determine whether asbestos is present.
To distinguish asbestos fibers from non-asbestos fibers, the standard method is Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). This method of asbestos testing uses transmission electron microscopes to examine fibers at upwards of 20,000x magnification. TEM’s powerful magnification allows the tester to identify asbestos fibers and even what type of building material the fibers come from.
If you need asbestos testing, it’s always best to use a professional testing service that will send a technician to collect the necessary samples. Attempting to gather samples yourself can put you and your family at risk. Our team at Double D Construction Services, Inc. has the right equipment and experience to safely take samples and accurately assess the level of asbestos on your property.