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Asbestos in Ambient Air by Method ISO 10312

Category Press Release
Publish Date 10/15/2012
Author Ed Cahill
Title Tech Tip: Asbestos in Ambient Air by Method ISO 10312
Introduction LA Testing has over 30 years of expertise in analyzing a variety of sample types for asbestos


Risk assessment from asbestos exposure has come a long way since the health hazards associated with this "miracle mineral" first came to light. Although asbestos-related health risks are well-documented in technical and medical literature, the correlation between asbestos exposures and adverse health effects is difficult to quantify. This difficulty arises in part because asbestos structures vary in type, association and arrangement. Many structures exist on the filter in a complex arrangement with varying subcomponents that need to be identified, defined and labeled.


The most common TEM (Transmission Electron Microscopy) methods such as the AHERA method, count complicated arrangements of fibers as one asbestos structure. A cluster of hundreds of fibers carries the same weight as a single fiber! There is no requirement to enumerate the individual components.  


The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) developed an asbestos analysis method for ambient air testing (ISO Method 10312) that incorporates a much more robust counting and documentation protocol. With this method enough information is recorded from each asbestos containing structure that a much more detailed picture emerges. In fact the method was developed so that enough information is documented that the data could be re-examined in different ways at a later time as new medical evidence becomes available.  Subcomponent fibers are classified based on morphology, selected area electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis. The ISO 10312 method is designed with a flexibility that allows it to be customized to meet specific project requirements. EMSL can work with the client to define analysis parameters such as analytical sensitivity, aspect ratios, level of fiber identification, etc. There are also options for extended counts for PCM equivalent (PCMe) fibers or structures that are greater than 5 microns as well.


Both ISO 10312 and the similar ASTM 6281 are important additions to any consultant’s analytical arsenal. ISO 10312 is the predominant method chosen by the EPA when risk assessment is of importance.

LA Testing has over 30 years experience in analyzing asbestos in various types of samples, including air, water, soil, rocks, vermiculite, building materials, and dust.


For further information, contact Derrick Tanner for information and pricing at 1-800-303-0047.

About LA Testing, Inc.
LA Testing is a local provider of environmental testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations, as well as state and federal regulating bodies.