Asbestos Testing DIY

Written by kara riccitelli
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Asbestos is a mineral fibre material that was commonly used in older buildings. It was thought to be a good building material choice because of its strength and fire-resistant properties. However, when asbestos is disturbed, the fibres are broken down and released into the air. If these particles are inhaled, they can cause significant health problems. The only way to know for certain if your building contains asbestos is to send a sample to a government-authorised asbestos-testing laboratory. You can purchase sample-collection kits or gather a few household materials to collect a sample.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Protective face mask
  • Rubber/latex/plastic gloves
  • Plastic sheet
  • Spray bottle
  • Scissors
  • Plastic bag
  • Permanent marker

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  1. 1

    Identify possible locations for absestos contamination. Asbestos may be found in crawlspaces; tile work; rooms with ductwork, radiator and heating systems; and areas with traditional wiring circuits.

  2. 2

    Turn off all ventilation and cooling/heating systems are turned off. Don't vacuum the area before testing. Ask all other people to stay clear of the area.

  3. 3

    Put on the face mask and gloves. Spread the plastic sheet on the floor.

  4. 4

    Fill the spray bottle with water. Mist the room with the spray bottle until misted water covers all areas of the room. The moisture will cause dust to settle on the plastic sheet.

  5. 5

    Cut away a small section of the sheet with scissors. Put it in a plastic bag.

  6. 6

    Label the plastic bag with your name and the time and date of collection. Send the sample to an asbestos-testing facility.

Tips and warnings

  • Watch for signs of asbestos inhalation. Symptoms will include shortness of breath or laboured breathing and coughing. If these symptoms are present, seek immediate medical attention.

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