How Do Asbestos Air Clearance Tests Work?

Asbestos is a term that is used to refer to a group of six, needle-like silicate minerals that are naturally occurring. According to the Occupations Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), breathing asbestos fibres can cause adverse health effects on the human body and therefore, its use is now highly regulated by both OSHA and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). If you have discovered an asbestos-containing material, had your building professionally abated and wants to ensure that your building is truly asbestos-free, you can conduct an asbestos air clearance test. Asbestos air clearance tests are usually conducted by a third-party company where they will visually evaluate the work area to ensure that abatement is complete, and the air is clean and ready for re-occupancy. It is best to engage a third-party company that is independent of the abatement company to ensure that the asbestos air clearance test is done accurately and fairly.

Take Note of the Timing to Conduct An Asbestos Air Clearance Test

Asbestos air clearance testing is a must for schools and public buildings that have recently undergo an asbestos removal procedure. However, depending on the municipality and local regulations, asbestos air clearance testing may not be required for family homes. Therefore, you should always make sure to conduct your asbestos air clearance test after your abatement contractor confirmed that the asbestos removal process is completed. Do not take down the abatement containment before the asbestos air clearance test. This is to prevent any potential release of asbestos fibres in the air.

Conduct A Visual Inspection of the Work Area

Your asbestos consultant will do a visual inspection around the containment area to see if there is any residual debris or dust. This is also to make sure that the abatement contractor has removed all the asbestos-containing materials. If the containment area fails the visual inspection, the asbestos abatement contractor will have to do additional cleaning to ensure that all asbestos-containing materials are gone.

Conduct the Air Clearance Testing

After the visual inspection, the asbestos consultant will begin the air clearance test. For asbestos air clearance testing, we generally use two methods to determine the asbestos concentration in the air – Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). PCM is more commonly used as it is relatively cheaper than TEM. However, PCM only checks for fibres that are of a similar morphology as asbestos, but not asbestos. TEM is mostly used for school abatement projects and this testing method can identify asbestos fibres directly. Once the sampling is done, we will then send the air samples to an accredited laboratory to be analyzed. If the air samples successfully pass the clearance criteria, you will receive a clearance letter to show that the abatement procedure was successful, and the air is suitable for re-occupancy. However, if the air test fails the clearance criteria, your abatement contractor will need to conduct additional cleaning till the air samples pass the clearance criteria.

Contact Us Today!

Iris Environmental Laboratories is an accredited laboratory that specializes in asbestos and mold laboratory testing and inspection. We have a team of certified and highly trained field experts, who are always ready to help you with asbestos air monitoring in your home. Our laboratory is nationally accredited by NVLAP, and NY-ELAP/NJ-DEP. So, wait no further, and contact us today!