The Process and Precautions of Asbestos Testing

In the past, asbestos was a common material used in construction due to its heat resistance and durability. However, the discovery that it is a highly toxic mineral that can cause serious health problems such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, has forced governments to ban its use in construction. But despite these measures, asbestos testing  can still be found in many buildings constructed before the 1980s.

This is where asbestos testing comes in. Asbestos testing is an important process that allows building owners or managers to determine if their buildings contain this harmful mineral. In this blog, we will explore why asbestos testing is important, how it is done, and who should do it.

Why asbestos testing is important

As mentioned earlier, asbestos exposure can cause severe health problems, and in some cases, can even be fatal. Therefore, it is essential to have asbestos testing done to determine if the mineral is present in a building. This is especially important if the building is old or has undergone renovations in the past.

Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) can become friable, which means that they can break down easily into tiny particles that can be inhaled. This can happen during demolition, renovation, or everyday wear and tear. Asbestos testing can identify ACMs and their location, which can help protect workers and other occupants of the building from exposure to this harmful mineral.

How asbestos testing is done

Asbestos testing involves taking samples of materials suspected of containing asbestos. These materials can include insulation, ceiling tiles, floor tiles, shingles, and other similar products.

There are two primary methods used for asbestos testing:

Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM): This method involves the use of a microscope to identify asbestos fibers based on their appearance and chemical composition.

Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM): This method is more exact and can detect smaller asbestos fibers that cannot be seen using PLM.

Once the samples are taken, they are sent to a laboratory for analysis, which can take several days. The laboratory will provide a report indicating whether the samples contain asbestos and the amount detected.

Who should do asbestos testing

Asbestos testing should always be done by a licensed asbestos inspector or contractor. These professionals are trained in identifying and handling ACMs and follow strict safety guidelines when taking samples.

If you are a building owner or manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that your building is safe and free from asbestos. Regular asbestos testing is the best way to ensure that your building is not exposing workers or occupants to this harmful mineral.

What to do if asbestos is found

If asbestos is found in a building, it does not necessarily mean that it needs to be removed immediately. In fact, in some cases, leaving the ACMs in place can be the best course of action as long as they are not disturbed.

However, if the ACMs are damaged or are going to be disturbed during renovations, they should be removed by a licensed asbestos abatement contractor. This is a highly specialized process that involves specific safety procedures to ensure that there is no asbestos exposure during the removal process.


Asbestos testing is a crucial process that can help determine if a building contains this harmful mineral. Regular testing can help building owners and managers to identify and manage ACMs, which can help protect occupants and workers from exposure. If you suspect that your building may contain asbestos, don’t wait – contact a licensed asbestos inspector today and have your building tested for this dangerous mineral.