Environmental Choices Technical Supplement, March/April 1993
Assessing asbestos fiber contamination in a carpet is complicated by the nature of the carpeting – because of the pile’s rough surface and thickness, samples cannot be collected directly from carpet for analysis by TEM. Two indirect methods are currently used by laboratories when preparing samples for measuring the amount of asbestos present in carpet material. One is an ultrasonic shaking technique which requires that a portion of the carpet be cut out and sent to the laboratory. The other is a micro-vacuuming technique which has been used generally in the assessment of asbestos in settled dust in buildings. It is not destructive to the carpet. Both methods utilize TEM to identify, measure and count the asbestos fibers found. Each can provide important but different information when an assessment of the level of contamination of carpeting is being made. The ultrasonic shaking (bulk-carpet sonication) technique gives an index of the asbestos contamination throughout the entire carpet piece and the micro-vacuuming technique gives an index of the readily releasable asbestos fiber from the carpet surface.
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