Should I Take a Sample Myself?
First things first. Are you supposed to take the sample?
If you live in and own the single family house to be remodeled, you may take your own samples for the purpose of identifying asbestos-containing materials. If you own the house, but you are renting it to someone else, or you own a house and share it with someone else, legally, you are not supposed to take samples.
Even though you can legally take the samples, but should you?
Taking asbestos samples by yourself is not recommended. Asbestos fibers that would cause health problems are much too small to be seen or noticed by human eyes, and sometimes they can't be easily detected even with a powerful microscope. In fact, an average human hair is approximately 1200 times thicker than an asbestos fiber. You may release asbestos fibers into the air or onto yourself without knowing or noticing.
When sealed in place at your home, asbestos don't release fibers into the air, but when disturbed it will, especially when the material is friable.
A word about the term "friable". A material that contains asbestos is friable if the material, when dry, may be crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by hand pressure. Popcorn ceiling texture and fibrous backing of sheet vinyl are examples of friable materials. A previously non-friable material will become friable after such previously non-friable material becomes damaged to the extent that it meets the criteria as a friable material. The window putty, the tile and roofing material that contain asbestos will become friable after they are damaged or seriously disturbed.
When a material become friable during sampling, it will release asbestos fibers into the air and present a health threat to people living in it.
Can the contractors performing work on your house take the sample?
Keep in mind that not all contractors can take a sample. Only contractors that are AHERA accredited can take the sample. It happened in the past, some contractors will not have the material tested for asbestos, or will take a sample when they are AHERA certified.
Call our AHERA certified sampling technician
When you feel uncomfortable about taking an asbestos sample, call us and arrange a sampling technician from our lab to come to your home and take the samples for you.
If you feel like taking your samples anyway, pay special attention to the following.
Only you should be in the room when sampling is accomplished.
Do not disturb the material any more than is required to take a small sample.
Shut down any heating or cooling systems to minimize the spread of any released fibers.
Place a plastic sheet on the floor below the area to be sampled
Wear disposable gloves and respirators.
Place the small piece into a clean container (for example, a 35 mm film canister, small glass or plastic vial, or high quality re-sealable plastic bag). Tightly seal the container after the sample is in it.
Use a damp paper towel to clean up any material on the outside of the container or spilled onto the floor. NEVER USE A VACUUM TO CLEAN UP ASBESTOS
Label the container - the label should contain an identification number and clearly indicate when and where the sample was taken.
Wash hands after sampling.
Cover the hole created by removing the sample with a small piece of duct tape to prevent further spread of fibers
How Many Samples Should I Take
According to EPA sampling guidelines, use the 3-5-7 rule when taking Surfacing Material samples such as popcorn ceiling texture or wall surfacing texture, i.e., 3 samples from less than 1,000 square feet area, 5 samples from 1,000 to 5,000 square feet area, and 7 samples from greater than 5,000 square feet area.
For Thermal System Material such as Insulation 3 samples should be taken for each kind of material.
For Miscellaneous Material such as window putty, roofing, tile, at least one sample should be taken from each homogeneous material
I Might Have Released Asbestos into the Air
If you feel asbestos containing material was unneccesarily disturbed during your sampling, you may want to call us to arrange an air monitoring. With an air monitoring, our technician will take air samples with a sampling device and analysis the air sample for possible contamination.