Carrying Out Asbestos Testing

As a rule of thumb, it is not advisable for novices to undertake asbestos testing. Without the requisite training and proper equipment, a novice is likely to end up inhaling the substance they are testing and end up suffering the consequences if it does turn out to be asbestos. In much the same way as when handling mold, it is best to have a professional undertake the testing. Since any providers of asbestos removal services offer free testing, it is an unnecessary risk to do the work yourself.

If for some reason, you feel compelled to do the work yourself, here are a few tips you should adhere to.

  1. Quarantine the room. Keep everyone else out of the room until you have had a chance to see the test results. This will reduce the risk of someone inhaling the dust and later becoming sick from it.
  2. Shut down the cooling and heating systems. These systems encourage airflow that may lead to asbestos spores circulating into other rooms and increase the risk of exposure.
  3. Before collecting a sample, be sure to wear protective gear. A facemask and disposable gloves are a good idea.
  4. Place a piece of plastic sheeting below the area you intend to take a sample from. This will provide a surface on which any residual dust and pieces can collect.
  5. Spray the area you intend to test with a fine mist of water. Wetting the surface this way will limit the risk of dust going airborne.
  6. Cut out a small portion of the material to be tested. Try to cut out a piece of the entire depth of the material. You can use a small knife for this and place the sample in a small jar, plastic container or sealable plastic bag.
  7. Carefully dispose of the facemask, gloves and plastic sheeting. Look up local procedures for disposing of toxic materials to avoid conflicting with the law.
  8. Use another piece of plastic sheeting and duct tape t cover up the area you have cut into and prevent any further release of asbestos fiber into the air. A simple patch should be enough to eliminate the risk of exposure.
  9. Carefully label the sample stating where you extracted it from and when the extraction was done.
  10. Look up laboratories in your region to which you can send the sample for testing. An asbestos removal firm can also help in conducting this test and getting the results back to you quickly.

These steps are simple enough, but know that asbestos fibers when airborne are difficult to detect. You may imagine yourself safe enough to breathe the air and later suffer as a result. It is highly recommended that in the event you suspect a case of asbestos exposure, that you take the necessary steps to isolate the room and call in a specialist to conduct testing. A professional with the right equipment can quickly give you results, on not only the material that has been damaged, but also the air quality. Free testing and estimates can help allow you quickly decide on a suitable solution to the problem.