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Asbestos in soil and made-ground can represent a significant hazard to site development workers and end-users.

Asbestos fibers can occur naturally or may enter the material as contaminants in mined or quarried materials.

Asbestos in soils testing services

SGS can test samples of made-ground, soil, rock, ballast etc. to determine the presence and form of asbestos fibers. Our laboratories can also help you comply with local regulations regarding asbestos percentage content by mass, through quantitative analysis.

Using locally approved methods of analysis, we test samples to identify and classify asbestos fiber types using microscopy – e.g. highly sensitive Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) or Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM). Samples normally yield results in 3-5 days.

  • Polarized Light Analysis – the bulk sample is broken down under a low powered microscope to pull out suspect fibers. These are then individually mounted on glass in a Cargille liquid that emphasizes the optical effect caused by light refraction at different speeds and from different angles – using Polarized Light Microscope (PLM) (methods HSG248, EPA/600/R-93/116, NIOSH9002 and/or OSHA ID-181)
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) – when other research methods cannot provide a definite answer about the composition of a sample, SEM will analyze the elements within the material. This reveals new avenues for investigation when a definitive answer on asbestos type and quantity is required
  • Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) – an alternative method to SEM

Why choose SGS?

With a network of ISO 17025 accredited methods in our laboratories around the world, we provide accurate, cost-effective testing for asbestos in soils, helping stakeholders comply with local standards and regulations.  

Our highly-trained experts work on projects of all sizes, including large-scale, complex international projects.  They understand the local environment and speak the local language, meaning, when you partner with SGS, you have global expertise with local knowledge.

For more information on asbestos in soil testing services, contact your local SGS office.