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Asbestos In Dust

Asbestos contamination may be found in dust from a variety of sources. The asbestos may be present due to a poorly performed remediation in the past or from decaying building materials, but regardless of the cause asbestos in dust can be a major source for concern. The asbestos found in dust generally presents itself in very small unbound fibers, which can be released into the air when the dust is disturbed. An alternative for dust sampling may be aggressive air testing which is not always a practical solution.

There are two commonly used ASTM methods available for sampling settled dust for asbestos analysis. These methods are used to sample and analyze settled dust from a given area:

  • ASTM D5755 (Micro-vacuum Method)
  • ASTM D6480 (Wipe Method).


  • It is important to note that TEM is the only worthwhile choice for analysis, PLM is not an appropriate analytical approach.
  • TEM filtration can provide a presence/absence on either of the stated sampling techniques while this is not EMSL’s recommended analytical choice it can be a useful tool when you are unable to measure the area sampled, or you are using the qualitative result as confirmation of a suspected positive result.
  • Sampling media is crucial for proper analysis, fiber interferences will occur if using improper media. Use of baby wipes, paper towels or tape would severely impact the ability to provide acceptable results.
  • While these ASTM methods have been used in the asbestos industry for years there is no set action There are some industry accepted levels for concern as well as other sampling comparisons techniques (inside work area compared to outside) that are used.
  • Results are provided in structures per square centimeter (Str/cm2) regardless of the unit of measure used to sample.
  • These methods are designed for dust; dust is different from debris. If you believe that your sampling area consists of debris, please contact the lab for alternative analysis options.

The summaries of both methods are relatively similar. The sampled dust is introduced into an aqueous solution of a known volume. The aqueous solution is then portioned into aliquots and filtered on to membrane filters. A subsection of the filter is collapsed on to a TEM grid. The samples are then analyzed via TEM wherein structures are counted, measured, and identified using SAED and EDXA at a significant magnification. The methods were designed for a sampling area of 100cm2; however, a smaller area can be sampled for a location with heavy dust accumulation, or for a location with extremely light dust a larger area can be sampled. Ideally, a location with visible dust should be sampled, but not a location where the dust has formed an opaque layer. It is important to always provide the sampling area sizes on the chain of custody as they are used in calculations.

Asbestos in Settled Dust Sampling Instructions 

Full list of services provided for Asbestos in Dust ( click for details )
PLM Standard Addition Method
TEM ASTM D-5755 (MicroVac)
TEM ASTM D-6480 (Wipe)
TEM Carpet Sonication EPA/600/J-93/167
TEM Qualitative via Drop Mount Prep Technique
TEM Qualitative via Filtration Prep Technique
Laboratories providing Asbestos in Dust ( click for details )
Atlanta, GA (LAB 07) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-1Baton Rouge, LA (LAB 25) - NVLAP Lab Code 200375-0Beltsville, MD (LAB 19) - NVLAP Lab Code 200293-0Boston, MA (LAB 13) - NVLAP Lab Code 101147-0Buffalo, NY (LAB 14) - NVLAP Lab Code 200056-0Carle Place, NY (LAB 06) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-10Charlotte, NC (LAB 41) - NVLAP Lab Code 200841-0Chicago, IL (LAB 26) - NVLAP Lab Code 200399-0Cinnaminson, NJ (LAB List in Description) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-0Dallas, TX (LAB 11) - NVLAP Lab Code 600111-0Denver, CO (LAB 22) - NVLAP Lab Code 200828-0EMSL Canada - Calgary, AB (LAB 65) - NVLAP Lab Code 500100-0EMSL Canada - Edmonton, AB (LAB 50) - NVLAP Lab Code 600321-0EMSL Canada - Markham, ON (LAB 66) - NVLAP Lab Code 600317-0EMSL Canada - Montreal, QC (LAB 68) - NVLAP Lab Code 201052-0EMSL Canada - Ottawa, ON (LAB 67) - NVLAP Lab Code 201040-0EMSL Canada - Toronto, ON (LAB 55) - NVLAP Lab Code 200877-0EMSL Canada - Vancouver, BC (LAB 69) - NVLAP Lab Code 201068-0Fort Lauderdale, FL (LAB 56) - NVLAP Lab Code 500085-0Houston, TX (LAB 15) - NVLAP Lab Code 102106-0Huntington Beach, CA (LAB 33) - NVLAP Lab Code 101384-0Indianapolis, IN (LAB 16) - NVLAP Lab Code 200188-0Kernersville, NC (LAB 02) - NVLAP Lab Code 102104-0Las Vegas, NV (LAB 31) - NVLAP Lab Code 600140-0Long Island City, NY (LAB 03) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-9Meriden, CT (LAB 24) - NVLAP Lab Code 200700-0Miami, FL (LAB 17) - NVLAP Lab Code 200204-0Minneapolis, MN (LAB 35) - NVLAP Lab Code 200019-0Ontario, California (San Bernadino County / Inland Empire) (LAB 71) - NVLAP Lab Code 600239-0Orlando, FL (LAB 34) - NVLAP Lab Code 101151-0Phoenix, AZ (LAB 12) - NVLAP Lab Code 200811-0Piscataway, NJ (LAB 05) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-2Plymouth Meeting, PA (LAB 18) - NVLAP Lab Code 200699-0Raleigh, NC (LAB 29) - NVLAP Lab Code 200671-0Rochester, NY (LAB 53) - NVLAP Lab Code 600183-0San Diego, CA (LAB 43) - NVLAP Lab Code 200855-0San Leandro, CA (LAB 09) - NVLAP Lab Code 101048-3Santa Clara, CA (LAB 47) - NVLAP Lab Code 600318-0Seattle, WA (LAB 51) - NVLAP Lab Code 200613-0South Pasadena, CA (LAB 32) - NVLAP Lab Code 200232-0South Portland, ME (LAB 62) - NVLAP Lab Code 500094-0St. Louis, MO (LAB 39) - NVLAP Lab Code 200742-0Syracuse, NY (LAB 73) - NVLAP Lab Code 600283-0Tampa, FL (LAB 93) - NVLAP Lab Code 600215-0
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