Note: You cannot be sure that a material contains asbestos by just looking at it with a naked eye. Therefore, treat all suspect materials as if they contain asbestos.
- Do not disturb the material any more than is needed to take a small sample.
- Wet the material using a fine mist of water before taking the sample. The water mist will reduce the possibility of releasing asbestos fibers.
- Carefully cut or scrape a piece from the entire depth of the material using, for example, a small knife, corer, or other sharp object.
- Cut or scrape only a small piece of the material. All materials can be grouped into two categories: friable, which can be crushed into powder by hand (for example, acoustic ceiling sprays), and nonfriable (for example, floor tiles, siding). These amounts are adequate for testing:
- For friable samples – 1 teaspoon
- For nonfriable samples – 1 square inch piece
- Place the small piece into a clean container, preferably, a ZipLock bag. Tightly seal the container after the sample is in it. For ZipLock bags, just use the zip seal itself. Do not use tapes.
- Use a damp paper towel to clean up any material on the outside of the container or around the area sampled.
- Label the container with an ID number (for example, Sample #1). In addition, it’s a good idea to write your name on the bag as well.
- For acoustic ceiling sprays covering more than 1,000 square feet, taking three samples from different locations is strongly recommended.
- Vermiculite samples need to be much larger, from half-cup to full cup size. It is important to scoop up the vermiculite from the floor, so that the sample includes the heavier particles as well.
- Do NOT send dust samples. Dust samples require analysis by Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) which we currently do not provide this service.
- It is not necessary to separate multi-layered samples from each other. If you are not testing every layer, just indicate which layer you would like to test.