Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was once used in construction, insulation, clothing, paint, home appliances, and other common products. Continuous exposure to asbestos can cause lung cancer. It may take several years of exposure to asbestos before a person develops serious health problems. Asbestos testing is performed by accredited asbestos labs to determine if asbestos is located within a building.
Asbestos can be found in homes, offices, and schools. When a building contaminated with asbestos is remodeled or painted, the asbestos is disturbed. As a result, microscopic asbestos particles enter the air. When people breathe in these fibers, they are at a higher risk of developing lung cancer. Asbestos testing can determine whether this dangerous mineral is lurking within a structure's walls.
When an accredited lab conducts asbestos testing, the lab takes samples of a surface that is suspected of containing asbestos. This can involve pressing a piece of tape to the surface to take the sample. An asbestos testing lab primarily uses three forms of testing: transmission electron microscopy (TEM), polarized light microscopy (PLM), and phase contrast microscopy (PCM).
TEM asbestos testing employs magnification and chemical and mineral tools to determine the difference between asbestos and non-asbestos materials. It is the most expensive form of testing. PLM uses polarized light to examine building fibers, differentiating between asbestos and non-asbestos.
This test can analyze a large amount of fibers at a lower cost than the TEM test. The PCM test uses magnification but cannot distinguish between asbestos and non-cancerous building materials. It is also the least expensive test to conduct.
If asbestos testing reveals that a building is contaminated with asbestos, it's imperative that the asbestos is immediately removed from the structure. A qualified asbestos-removing company should be hired. Contractors who are experts at removing asbestos know how to safely and legally remove this toxic material from buildings.
Prolonged exposure to asbestos can lead to serious lung diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. These diseases are caused by the asbestos fibers that lodge in the lungs as time passes. Symptoms of these serious respiratory conditions include difficulty breathing, decreased appetite, pains in the chest, persistent cough, and wheezing.
Asbestos is a silent killer that lurks in old buildings. It may inhabit floor tile, textured paint, heating and plumbing ducts, or appliances within the home. To determine if asbestos is present within a building, asbestos testing must be conducted by an accredited asbestos-testing lab. These experts can also recommend reputable contractors who can eliminate the material from the structure.