Asbestos and Mold Laboratory Services
Asbestos is a group of naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals. The six forms of asbestos are: Actinolite, Amosite, Anthophyllite, Chrysotile, Crocidolite, and Tremolite. Asbestos fibers are strong and flexible enough to be spun and woven and are heat and chemical resistant, making them useful for many industrial purposes. Due to these properties asbestos has been used in over 3,000 different products. Asbestos was a valuable reinforcing, insulating, and fire-proofing material, and was used widely in construction materials.
Asbestos is most commonly found in older homes and buildings in the following materials:
- pipe and furnace insulation materials
- roofing materials
- exterior siding
- wallboard and textures/joint compound
- textured paints and other coating materials
- flooring materials and adhesives
- loose fill attic insulation known as vermiculite
While many asbestos-containing materials have been banned in the United States, asbestos continues to be used today in building material construction making it necessary to test modern building materials.
The following are some of the materials in which the use of asbestos is not banned and may be used in new construction today:
- Vinyl floor tile
- Roofing felt
- Roof coatings
- Non-roofing coatings
- Cement shingle
- Cement pipe
- Cement corrugated sheet
- Cement flat sheet
- Pipeline wrap
- Automatic transmission components
- Clutch facings
- Friction materials
- Disk brake pads
- Drum brake linings
- Brake blocks
Testing of building materials and vermiculite is the only way to determine if the materials contain asbestos fibers.
If asbestos-containing materials are disturbed by cutting, sanding or other remodeling activities, asbestos fibers can be released to the air where they can become an inhalation hazard. To be a significant health concern, asbestos fibers must be inhaled at high concentrations over an extended timeframe. Significant exposure to asbestos increases the risk of asbestosis or mesothelioma. Asbestos testing is the responsibility of anyone who launches a renovation, demolition, or maintenance project that results in structural disturbance. L&R can conduct a thorough analysis of any suspect material in our laboratory in Meridian, Idaho.
Asbestosis is scarring of the lung tissue. Asbestosis restricts breathing leading to decreased lung volume and increased resistance in the airways. It is a slowly progressive disease with a latency period of 15 to 30 years.
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the pleural lining and is considered to be exclusively related to asbestos exposure. By the time it is diagnosed, it is almost always fatal. Similar to other asbestos related diseases, mesothelioma has a longer latency period of 30 to 40 years.
Asbestos can be positively identified in air, bulk, and/or dust samples only by trained analysts using specialized microscopes. L&R has trained and experienced staff along with the necessary equipment and instrumentation to provide quality asbestos analysis of air, bulk, and/or dust samples. We offer various methodologies (NIOSH, EPA, OSHA, ASTM, etc.) utilizing Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) and Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM).
Fungi are everywhere, in soil and water, in air, on and within plants and animals, including the human body. We breathe in mold spores and other particles such as fibers, pollution, and pollen in all environments. The amount of mold spores in the air at any given time can vary greatly and is dependent on time of day, temperature, precipitation and wind.
While mold is a normal and necessary part of our world, mold should not be growing inside our homes or offices. Fungi require two things to grow, moisture and a food source. When it is found growing indoors it may be a sign of a humidity or water issue.
Sources of moisture could include:
- Improper or lack of ventilation
- Plumbing leaks
- Roofing leaks
- Exterior sprinklers
Cellulose (paper) rich building materials provide a great food source for mold. Examples of these building materials include:
- Paper face and backing of drywall or insulation
- Structural flooring
- Structural framing
When mold grows in an indoor environment, the elevated amounts of mold spores can cause allergic reactions in individuals with allergies.
L&R is the first mold laboratory in Idaho. L&R uses the ASTM standard for mold analysis by optical microscopy to analyze for mold spores in air, bulk, and surface samples.
L&R performs the following mold laboratory services:
- Spore Trap analysis for types of mold spores present in air
- Surface / Direct exam analysis of spore type with ratings of ‘light’, ‘moderate’ and ‘heavy’ growth
Contact our Asbestos Laboratory
For further information concerning our Asbestos Laboratory, please contact us by phone or email as follows:
Laurie Kuther, Laboratory Manager