Lynnwood Lab: 19701 Scriber Lake Road, Suite 103, Lynnwood, WA 98036, Tel:425.673.9850, Fax:425.673.9810
Bellevue Lab: 12727 Northup Way, Suite 1, Bellevue, WA 98005, Tel:425.861.1111, Fax:425.861.1118.....
Seattle Lab: 4500 9th Ave. NE, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98105, Tel:206.633.1111, Fax:206.633.4747.....

Analytical Notes

Laboratory Equipment

In order to communicate with our customers more effectively and provide them with better services, Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC has compiled the following Analytical Notes. The customers are encouraged to refer to these notes when using our services, and let us know of suggestions and comments so that we can further improve.

Format of Our Report

The report for PLM analysis follows the following format: Lab ID, which is sequential, Client ID, Layer, Description of the sample, Asb percentage, Asb Type, Non-fibrous component, Percentage of non-asb fibers, and Type of non-asb Fibers.

Lab ID Client ID Layer Description Asb % Asb Type Non-fibrous %of Non-asb Fiber Non-asb Fibers


The color given to a sample by Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC is the combination of observation from the naked eyes of the analyst, and the stereo microscope. Our lab will refer to the field data sheet of the inspector if it is provided, but please keep in mind that discrepancy may arise between our description of the color and that of your field data sheet which was observed in the field. Some factors that may cause the difference include: (1) The size effect. It means that a certain material may display slightly different colors, as least to the human eyes, when it is a continuous sheet than it is cut into pieces. The extreme example is the so called streak effect, which essentially states that the streak (also called powder color) of a material may be totally different from that of an un-weathered surface of a material. (2) Observation conditions. Because of the difference in lighting or angle of observation, the material may present a different color in the field than from the lab. (3) Cleanness of the material. In the lab, the sample is prepared so that the dust or any other foreign coatings are removed, so our analysts may see the sample more clearly. One example is white insulation with surfacing dust or dirt on it: it may be described as gray or black by the inspector, but called white as observed by the analyst, who will open the bundles and look into the interior.

In general, we will be as accurate as possible in describing color of the sample, but there be many cases where interchangeable colors may be reasonable. For example, a white tile may be described as off-white, or beige under some conditions. Likewise, an off-white mortar may be described as gray, or white.

We understand the concern of the inspector: is the lab looking at the right material if they feel the colors are different from their expectation. Please call Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC if you have such concern after receiving the report, and we will have another look at the sample and check the analyst’s note.

Layer Identification

Over the years, Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC have standardized its layer identification, and it is well accepted by our customers. Unlike many other laboratories which give description like “white sheeting" for a multilayered sheet vinyl, or “gray caulking" to any window putty, Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC describe the samples in detailed and distinctive ways. The following are examples of our description.

Sheet vinyl

The most common sheet vinyl has two layers: (1) Beige sheet vinyl, and (2) Gray fibrous material with mastic. We will list three layers only when both the sheet vinyl, and the backing are negative, but the mastic is positive, and in this case, the three layers will be: (1) Beige sheet vinyl (negative), and (2) Gray fibrous material (negative) ,and (3) Brown mastic (positive). We will also list three layers if there are two type of mastic and one of them is positive, and in this case, the layers will be like this: (1) Beige sheet vinyl (negative), (2) Gray fibrous backing with mastic (brown, negative), and (3) Black mastic (positive). It’s not our practice to separate a positive fibrous backing from the mastic, because there’s no good method to do so. If we are asked to list the mastic as a third layer, our experience tells us the mastic is mostly likely positive as well.

There’s another type of sheet vinyl that has black asphaltic fibrous backing and mastic. As stated above, we well list it as two layers as, (1) Brown sheet vinyl, and (2) Black asphaltic material with mastic, unless the mastic is positive, in which case it will be listed as a separate third layer.

Yet another type of sheet vinyl is the one that doesn’t have any backing, and only one layer will be given.

Complication could arise in the lab as for the material is a sheet vinyl or a tile, because of the small size of the sample. If that happens, please inform us, and we’ll make changes according to what the inspector observed in the field.

Wall board

A typical wallboard consists of two layers: (1) the texture or joint compound with paint, and (2) the chalky material that makes the majority of the board. Naturally, Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC lists two layers for a typical wallboard: (1) White powdery material with paint, and (2) White chalky material with paper. We will separate the paint only when it contains asbestos.

Deviation from a typical wallboard can occur when these situations are true: (1) there are multiple layers of texture, or joint compound, in which case, three or more layers will be reported, (2) there’s no texture and/or paint, in which case, only one layer will be given, and (3), there’s some other material sticking to the wallboard, such as mastic, or caulking.

To reiterate, if the wallboard has no texture, but just paint, only one layer will be given and it reads like this: White chalky material with paper and paint.

Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC doesn’t differentiate texture from joint compound, because based on microscopic scales, it’s impossible to tell one from the other. As a result, both will be described the same as: White powdery material with paint.

Because of the inability to differentiate texture from joint compound in the lab, Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC will not give composite comment to a positive wallboard. If such comments are needed, the customer should request in writing when submitting the samples, and Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC will make an analytical assessment to add the comments, which may indicate less than or greater than 1% of asbestos. If such request is made after the report issued, a service fee may be charged.

A better solution than adding the composite comment is to perform a point count. Please advise Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC in a timely manner so that the sample is still saved.


Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC describe shingles with sand as “Black asphaltic material with sand" and felt as “Black asphaltic fibrous material" If more than one piece of roofing have similar characteristics, we will described as “multi-layered ". Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC will always list silver paint associated with roofing material as a separate layer no matter it is at the surface or in the middle.

Pin-pointing where asbestos is in a roofing sample is not easy, because roofing samples usually create a messy condition, especially when there are multiple layers are present. Please check with our lab for possible analyst’s note.


A typical tile will have two layers: the tile and the mastic. If multiple layers of tiles are present, the analyst will use the best judgment to reconstruct the original superimposition of the tiles, and list them accordingly, unless there’s field data sheet, or the tiles are bound together and top-bottom position is indicated.

As shall be further discussed later, the size of a tile sample is important. If the sample size is too small, the result may not be very reliable.

Popcorn ceiling

A typical popcorn ceiling sample has one layer, and it will described as: “White soft lumpy material" or “White soft lumpy material with paint" if it is covered by paint, or “White soft lumpy material with flaky material" if there’s vermiculite present.

Ceiling tile

A typical ceiling type has two layers: the ceiling tile itself described as ”Gray fibrous material with paint" and the mastic described as “Brown mastic"

If there’s a layer of texture between the surfacing paint, and the ceiling tile, it will be listed and three layers will be given. If there’s no mastic, only one layer, either with or without paint, will be given.

Ceramic tile

There layers are normally given to a ceramic sample: the ceramic tile, the grout, and the mastic. In some cases where total destructive sampling is not possible, the mastic may not be present, and only two layers will be given.

Cove Base

A cove base sample is typically separated into the rubbery material as layer one, and the mastic as layer two. In some cases, there’s a piece of the underlying wallboard texture, and it will be described as layer three.

Sink underlayment

Sink underlayment is the coating applied to the bottom of the sink for insulation purposes, and because they are homogeneous, only one layer is given as “Black (or gray) soft/lose material"

Window putty

A window putty is normally one layer in the case where no paint is present. If there’s paint at the surface, Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC may chose to give either one layer or two layers as the description depending on the situation. If there’s a single sample, the paint will be described with the putty, and only one layer is given. If the sample is part of a group, which requires “Stop First Positive" analysis, the sample will be described as two layer: the paint as the first layer, and the putty, the gray brittle material, as the second.


Caulking, like sealant, will be described as “Gray soft/elastic material" If there’s paint on the surface, the lab may separate the paint as a second layer.


Insulation is normally homogeneous, and hence only one layer will be given. In the case where there is a minor amount of different material, such as a woven fibrous material among the majority fiber glass, or small amount of vermiculite mixed with the insulation, is present, the minor component will be described as the second layer. If a silver foil is present in the insulation, the analyst can either separate it into a distinctive layer, or describe it with other material into a combined layer.


A typical wire segment is described as “Wire composed of asphalt, fibrous material, rubber, and metal core" In some cases, one or more component may be missing from the typical list given above, while in other cases, some additional material, such as silver paint, or plastic may be present. In any regard, a wire will be described as one layer by Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC, unless one or more component of the wire is positive, in which case, the positive components may be listed as a distinctive layer or layers.


A felt sample is described as “Black asphaltic fibrous material".


One layer is sufficient to described a vermiculite sample in many cases, and the description is: Tan/brown flaky material. If other materials, such as fibrous bundle, or mortar are present, it will be listed separately.

Tape sample

The description for a tape sample is “Dusts on cellophane tape" If enough fibrous or particles are present, the description will reflect the changes in the makeup of the dust collected on the tape. The modifications include: “Dusts/fibrous on cellophane tape" or “Dusts/particles on cellophane tape".

Wipe sample

The description of wipe samples will be very similar to a tape same described above.

Note: In most cases, the customer will give us a reasonable sample in that all the materials in the sample are naturally superimposed on each other when the sample is taken, and the total layer of samples are within the technical limit of our reporting system. If, however, a sample contains more than three layers, and especially, unrelated materials are intentionally combined, additional fees may apply.

Description Method

“Color + Major component + minor component" is the most common format of our description of a layer. For example, “Gray fibrous material with mastic". Notice that color is not given to the minor component, for reasons that the description may get too long.

In some cases, this format may be used: Color one/Color Two + Major component one/Major component Two + minor component" The reason for this is that the two prominent components may have equal amounts in the sample and they have different colors. One good example is a sample with mixed white and equal amount of gray background plaster like material with a paint coating. The description in this case will be something like this: “White/gray sandy/brittle material with paint".

Stop First Positive

Stop First Positive means that as soon as a positive sample is found in a group of samples, the analysis stops. In reality, Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC treats the situation like this: if all layers in a sample are tested positive, the analysis will stop. Let’s use some examples to have better understanding.

Here's an example: there are three tile samples grouped together. If the tile and the mastic in the first tile are both positive, the analysis will stop. If only one component, either the tile or the mastic, in the first sample is positive, but the other component is negative, the analysis will carry on to the second the sample. If both components in the second sample are positive, the analysis will stop, but if one of the components in the second sample is negative, the analysis will continue. For simplicity, Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC will carry on the test, no matter which component is negative, so a positive tile may be analyzed three times in a group of three samples if the mastic keeps coming up negative.

For the purpose of Stop First Positive analysis, Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC will separate the layers as detail as possible, for the essence of this methodology is to test all materials present in a group of samples. For example, a tile will be separated into tile and mastic, a ceiling tile into ceiling tile and mastic, a sheet vinyl into sheet vinyl, fibrous backing and/or mastic, a putty into paint and putty, a wallboard into texture and chalky board, a cove base into rubber and mastic.

Since samples not analyzed in a group will be processed as the other samples in many ways, samples not analyzed in a group will be charged half price.

Composite Results

As stated earlier, there’s no effective and reliable methodology to distinguish a texture layer from a joint compound layer. Because of this, Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC will not add a comment stating the composite result is less than one percent for any wallboard samples. It will, however, follow the written instruction submitted by the customer prior to the analysis along with the COC or data sheet.

If such written instructions are not given ahead of time, all positive wallboard samples will NOT receive a composite comments. After the issuing of the report, a composite comment can still be added. Since the process will take more time than if the instruction were received the first time, a service fee for retrieving the samples, for reanalyzing and assessing the percentage and for reformatting the report will incur.

Turnaround Time

Turnaround Time should be clearly indicated when submitting the samples by the customer. If it’s missing, Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC will make attempt to contact the customer for a correct Turnaround Time. If, however, the customer is not available, or doesn’t respond within 24 hours, the lab will analyze the sample as one day TAT. If the samples are marked as “Standard" or “Regular" or some other immeasurable terms, Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC will analyze the sample as three day TAT. The TAT starts when the sample is received either by mail or in person, but in the case where the confirmation is needed from the customer, the TAT starts when confirmation is received.

Analysts' Notes

Each batch of sample carry an analyst note in addition to the standard Work Bench Sheet. The analyst note is a designated column in the report, where the analyst can make short and quick notes. It has proven that such notes are very useful when there’s a problem with the sample. The customer is encouraged to consult with the analysts' notes whenever there's a question about the analysis.

Point Counting

The customer can request point count and get a more accurate percentage of asbestos in the sample. When requesting a point count, the old batch information, including the previous batch number, the previous Lab ID, and the Client Sample ID are required, if the samples to be point counted were analyzed by Seattle Asbestos Test at an earlier time. If the samples were not analyzed yet by Seattle Asbestos Test, our lab will analyze these samples by regular PLM method first, and then perform the point count.

If the samples to be point counted belongs to a Stop First Positive group, or the samples were put on hold by the customer, they will be analyzed by PLM first as well.

Samples on Hold

If the customer requires some samples to be put on hold first, Seattle Asbestos Test will log in these samples, and charge a half price to it as in the case of non-analyzed samples in a group. Samples can’t be put on hold indefinitely, and a two week period is the standard. If they needs to be held longer, a request should be made by the client during the two week period, and a fee might be charged.

Sample Archive

Samples are kept for two weeks following analysis, and request to re-look at samples, to add composite result, or to perform point count should be made during these two weeks. After two weeks, the samples may not be there any more, so please request a longer holding period in writing when you submit the samples.

Sample Retrieving

Samples can’t be retrieved once submitted to Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC. At transition of custody, which happens at the submission by the customer, the samples become the property of Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC. Furthermore, there may not be much remained of a sample after the analysis if the sample size is not very big to begin with.

Small Size Samples

Ideal sample size preferred by Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC are as following:

-A teaspoonful for popcorn ceiling, sink underlayment
-A square inch for ceiling tile, cove base , paper including paper like insulation, roofing shingles, felt, and sheet vinyl
-Two square inch for tile and adequate mastic associated with the tile. Notice we require a larger sample for tile than other flat samples such as sheet vinyl.
-A handful for vermiculite
-One to two inch in length for wire sample, window putty
-Several pinch amounts for insulation
-Two slide length for tape sample, and make sure enough dust sticks to the tape so that the tape is not sticking to each other when folded.
-At least four by four inch for a wipe sample, and make sure the wipe is somehow sticky, such as slightly wet so that it can pick up dust.

Method of Reporting

Our standard reporting method is to fax a draft copy of report, even though not marked as draft, to the customer within the requested TAT, and send a final hardcopy by mail in the next mailing period, which normally is in the following day or two within the requested TAT.


Invoicing takes place in the next invoicing period of Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC, and batches will be summarized about 15 batches per invoice. The standard Term of payment is 30 days for customers with established credit. Pre-pay may be required for customers who haven’t set up an account with us.

The A Report

The A Report is a report in addition to the standard laboratory analytical report, and it has been shown to be very helpful for inspectors who want to combine the laboratory report with their field information in a time-saving manner. Items included in A Report are shown as following:

Lab ID Client ID Layer Description Asb % Asb Type Sample Location Description by inspector Item of your Choice

The first six items in the A Report are from the laboratory analysis, and the last three items are from the field data sheet of the inspector. If you need an A Report, please submit your items to be listed on our COC, or a separate field data sheet. There’s a minimal fee for this service.

Report Revision

Any request about revisions of report, or revision of COC after the sample submission must be made in writing. The revised the report will show a revision date on the right upper corner. Normal revision of reports will be free of charge. If the change is too time consuming, or involves some other difficult issues, a fee may be applied.

Service Fees

The following services will be charged, unless there’s special arrangement. Some privileged clients have some or all of the services mentioned above free of charge, and will continue to have such privilege unless they are notified by us in writing.

Composite analysis after the issuance of reports.

Samples submitted as hold or skipped in a group of progressive analysis. A processing fee equal to half of a sample cost for receiving, logging in will be charged.

Report revision. If the revision is too time consuming for the lab or involves some other difficult issues.

Scanning into PDF files. Scanning report and COC into PDF is $20 per batch for up to 10 pages. Each additional 10 pages is $5.

Samples not previously analyzed by Seattle Asbestos Test with PLM methods, and now requesting point counting. The pricing for PLM will be charged according to the same TAT as the point count requested.

Sample Pickup

Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC will provide sample pickup services to its customers, and if the invoice value of the samples to be picked exceed a certain number, it will be a free pickup, otherwise there’s a fee associated. The threshold invoice value depends on the distance from your location to Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC, and it can be found on our Pricelist to you.

Weekend or After-Hour Service

Seattle Asbestos Test will provide weekend or after hour services to its customers, and asks the customer to schedule one with this form:

Form for Scheduling a Weekend/After Hour Service

Please note that a reasonable amount of time is needed for these kind of services, and communication with the lab is crucial at all times, so that we can effectively dispatch and arrange someone in the lab to better serve you. After scheduling the appointment, the customer will be charged if they can’t attend the appointment, or didn’t cancel it within 24 hours of the appointment time. In the event that the customer can’t make to the appointment, a cancellation fee may apply.

The services listed here means the customer will drop the samples to our labs either in Lynnwood, or Bellevue.

Onsite Testing

Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC can perform onsite testing for PCM samples of all kinds, and limited testing for PLM. A service fee is associated with the service, and customer is encouraged to consult the lab with details. If we feel the location is too far, or too difficult to access, we may not be able to provide this service.

Equipment Renting or Purchasing

Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC will rent equipments to its customers depending on availability, and the items rented include pumps, microscopes, and other laboratory items. A deposit is required. Cassettes of PCM and TEM, sample bags, and slides can’t be purchased.

Dropping Lead/Mold Samples

Seattle Asbestos Test, LLC can accept lead, both total and TCLP, and Mold samples, and have them analyzed with very competitive price in its partner labs. Please drop your samples in either of our locations.

Emergency Phone Numbers

The phone number for emergency services including After Hour Service, Weekend/Holiday Service, and Onsite Testing is:


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