How to test the air after asbestos has been removed

Updated March 23, 2017

Asbestos removal is a difficult process and, if not handled competently, it may stir up fibres and cause them to become airborne. Only a trained fibrologist using a high-powered microscope can definitively determine if airborne particles are asbestos or another form of fibre. However, home sampling kits can help you determine if further testing may be necessary.

Using a sampling canister, draw a sample of air from the area you wish to test. Sampling canisters work by drawing a fixed amount of air through a filter.

Examine collected particles under a polarised light microscope. A fibrologist's professional training is required to differentiate asbestos fibres from other airborne fibres.

If asbestos is detected, calculate its concentration in the air. Under the microscope, count the number of asbestos particles caught on the filter. Using that number and the fixed sample size of air measured in Step 1, determine the number of particles per litre of air.

Check concentration levels against EPA or OSHA standards.

Draw an air sample into the canister provided in your test kit. Do not sample too much air and make sure to draw a full canister's worth.

Package and send your sample to the address provided by the testing company. A fibrologist will examine your sample filter for traces of asbestos.

Await results returned by mail.

Things You'll Need

  • Sampling canister
  • Polarised light microscope
  • Test kit
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About the Author

Wilhelm Schnotz has worked as a freelance writer since 1998, covering arts and entertainment, culture and financial stories for a variety of consumer publications. His work has appeared in dozens of print titles, including "TV Guide" and "The Dallas Observer." Schnotz holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Colorado State University.