Asbestos describes a number of naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals. Asbestos is an excellent insulator for sound, heat and electricity. The fibers are very durable and therefore asbestos seemed like an ideal building material in the past. However, asbestos is a known carcinogen, which may cause lung cancer (mesothelioma) or other illnesses.

Differentiating materials containing asbestos can be difficult as many asbestos containing materials are indistinguishable from those that don't contain asbestos. Common building materials such as floor tiles, linoleum, drywall, drywall joint compound, ceiling stipple, and ceiling tiles may contain asbestos. Different manufacturers or different batches of materials may or may not have contained asbestos. Therefore renovations and repairs over time may have removed or added asbestos hazards without altering appearance. Often the only way to differentiate these materials is through laboratory testing.

Bulk Asbestos Analysis by Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM)

Our bulk asbestos analysis follows the NIOSH 9002 and EPA 600/R-93/116(Gravimetric) methods.

PLM is an industry and government accepted method for identification of asbestos in bulk samples. Fibers are extracted and examined by a trained analyst to identify asbestos.

Airborne Fiber Analysis by Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM)

Bio-Chem Consulting is proud to now offer analytical services for airborne fiber analysis by PCM following NIOSH 7400 methods. PCM is an inexpensive and common method used by consultants to test for total indoor fiber counts. Bio-Chem conducts airborne fiber analysis to demonstrate that compliance with The Alberta Workplace Health and Safety Code has been met.

PCM however, does NOT provide a count of asbestos fibers as it cannot differentiate between asbestos fibers and fibers such as cellulose and MMVFs (man-made vitreous fibers).

Our Asbestos Services (by PLM & PCM) are accredited by CALA. We are actively participating in AIHA's Bulk Asbestos Proficiency Analytical Testing program (BAPAT) and CALA's Asbestos Proficiency Testing program.