A client concerned that asbestos might be present, asked MVA Scientific Consultants to analyze a sample of their soil. In addition, the client asked MVA for information about any fibers present, especially information about their aspect ratios (length/width).
MVA used 1 mm and 300 µm sieves to generate 3 separate sub-samples for analysis (Figure 1).
The coarse fraction (>1mm) was analyzed by stereomicroscopy and polarized light microscopy (PLM) (Figure 2). The intermediate fraction (300 µm – 1mm) was analyzed by PLM (Figure 3). The fine fraction (<300 µm) was analyzed by PLM, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) (Figure 4).
Chrysotile was found in the samples, much of it in the form of bundles with aspect ratios greater than 3:1 (Figures 3 & 4).