Asbestos Quantification

Laboratory Testing for Asbestos

Asbestos Quantification has been added to Nicholls Colton’s UKAS accreditations, following investment in a second asbestos laboratory in order to support this additional service.

Quantification, as the name suggests, is essentially measuring the amount of asbestos in a given sample, reported as percentage asbestos content of dry sample mass.

As asbestos is not homogenous throughout soils, samples sent in for quantification should ideally be around 1kg in weight for good representation. Too large samples, however, may be unsuitable for asbestos quantification.
We perform quantification in a four-stage process (others may use 3):

Stage 1: Initial identification of asbestos, using Polarised Light Microscopy (PLM). If no asbestos is identified no quantification can be performed.

Stage 2: Gravimetric analysis of the whole sample for visible asbestos containing materials (ACM’s), which are removed and weighed.

Stage 3: Detailed gravimetric analysis of a subsample using stereomicroscopy and PLM to remove and weigh loose asbestos fibres and ACM fragments

Stage 4: Free/dispersed fibre analysis using Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM). Performed if a sample contains loose fibres that are too small to remove and weigh in Stage 3.

The quantification process can be time-consuming as it requires the whole sample to be dried and examined.

Employees hold a minimum of the BOHS P401 and P403 qualifications, plus designated staff are further trained to be qualified to BOHS P402, P404, P405 and CoC (Certificate of Competence Asbestos), click here for more information, as may be required.

Nicholls Colton Group Limited also participates in the proficiency testing schemes

AIMS (Asbestos in Materials Scheme) click here

AISS (Asbestos in Soils Scheme) click here

RICE (Regular Interlaboratory Counting Exchanges) click here