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Asbestos test sample collection procedure: how should you collect a material sample to send to an asbestos testing laboratory? This article includes asbestos sample collection procedures and photographs, sample preparation for submission to an appropriate asbestos testing or forensic laboratory to identify asbestos materials (or probable-asbestos) in flooring and floor tiles, insulation, or other products and materials suspected of containing asbestos.
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Reader Question: What is the Best Way to Collect an Asbestos-Suspect Material Sample for Testing
We have a large amount of insulation and a few other materials in our home that we suspect are or contain asbestos and would like to know the proper way to collect a sample to send to an asbestos testing lab. - Anon. 5/30/12
Reply: U.S. EPA Advice summarized - How To Collect Asbestos Test Samples of Materials That May Contain Asbestos
In some cases, such as where you may be facing a large or costly cleanup, tests to confirm that asbestos-suspect material really is asbestos-containing are appropriate.
An example is certain floor tiles that need to be demolished, of an age and pattern that may or may not be asbestos-containing. Below we have adapted, expanded, and commented on the advice below from the U.S. EPA's Asbestos in the Home
You can't tell whether a material contains asbestos simply by looking at it, unless it is labeled. If in doubt, treat the material as if it contains asbestos ["Presumed Asbestos Containing Material - PACM] or have it sampled and analyzed by a qualified professional.
A professional should take samples for analysis, since a professional knows what to look for, and because there may be an increased health risk if fibers are released. In fact, if done incorrectly, sampling can be more hazardous than leaving the material alone. Taking samples yourself is not recommended.
If you nevertheless choose to take the samples yourself, take care not to release asbestos fibers into the air or onto yourself. Material that is in good condition and will not be disturbed (by remodeling, for example) should be left alone.
Only material that is damaged or will be disturbed should be sampled. Anyone who samples asbestos-containing materials should have as much information as possible on the handling of asbestos before sampling, and at a minimum, should observe the following procedures:
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