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    Blog - Slip Testing

    Accredited asbestos testing of bulk samples using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to ISO 22262-1 – Australian first.

    Posted 22nd January 2021, Carl Strautins

    ISO 22262-1:2012. Air quality — Bulk materials — Part 1: Sampling and qualitative determination of asbestos in commercial bulk materials is the most current up to date standard in the world which Safe Environments were recently accredited to.

    In recent years, more attention has been directed towards advanced analytical techniques such as electron microscopy. With lower limits of detection and fibre resolution, be absolutely assured that asbestos has not been identified.

    While Polarised Light Microscopy (PLM) is nice cheap and cheerful, it lacks the sophistication in providing elemental analysis to confirm what the material is made of. PLM may only provide a magnification of 100x which dos not truly identify respirable fibres. Even Phase Contrast Microscopy can only view fibres at 400 x magnification. Standard Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) view the material at 600x with routine observations at 2000x and elemental analysis at 20,000 times magnification. No other company in Australia is accredited for this level of specificity as of Jan 2021.

    SEM using elemental analysis using Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) is also required to confirm asbestos types such as tremolite, actinolite and anthophyllite. In many cases, these fibres will be reported as ‘unknown mineral fibres’ or ‘mineral fibres of unknown type’.

    If tremolite, actinolite or anthophyllite are suspected then this will require other techniques such as Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). This where samples will be analysed in Australia if an independent asbestos laboratory is required to confirm the type of asbestos to comply with Workplace Health and Safety Legislation.

    Other confirmatory techniques for asbestos testing conducted by Safe Environment and accredited by NATA include X-ray diffraction (XRD). These advanced accredited analytical techniques at the beginning of 2021 are only available through Safe Environments.

    As well as testing capabilities, Safe Environments are accredited for asbestos inspections and management plans to ISO 17020 Conformity assessment — Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection.

    All these services are supported by the technical expertise of an epidemiologist, Certified Occupational Hygienist and Certified Material Professional.