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On this page:
- Site Investigation and Environmental Sampling
- Laboratory Analysis for Asbestos in Soil and Bulk Materials
- Laboratory Analysis for Asbestos in Air Samples
- Accreditation of Laboratories for Asbestos Analysis
- National Asbestos Data Entry Spreadsheet
- Risk Assessment
- Presentations and Training
Site Investigation and Environmental Sampling
Framework for Investigating Asbestos-Contaminated Superfund Sites (PDF) (71 pp, 849K) OSWER Directive 9200.0-68, September 2008.
This Framework implements the August 2004 Directive by recommending a risk-based, site-specific approach for site evaluation based on current asbestos science. This guidance provides a recommended flexible framework for investigating and evaluating asbestos contamination at Superfund removal and remedial sites. This document also provides remedial/removal managers, remedial project managers, on-scene coordinators, site assessors, and other decision makers with information that should assist in the evaluation of asbestos risks at Superfund sites, along with information to facilitate sites decisions under conditions of incomplete characterization and to accommodate the varied nature of environmental asbestos contamination. This Framework was transmitted with James Woolford's Transmittal of Framework for Investigating Asbestos-Contaminated Superfund Sites (PDF) (3 pp, 399K) memorandum.
Standard Operating Procedures for Activity-Based Sampling (PDF) (29pp, 323K) OSWER's Environmental Response Team's Standard Operating Procedure #2084, Revision 0, May 10, 2007.
The Environmental Response Team (ERT) Helpful Hints document was prepared several years after the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Activity-Based Sampling. The SOP describes how to perform specific scenarios n a rather rigid and methodical manner in an attempt to provide a consistent approach at sites (e.g., raking in a circle and turning a quarter circle every 15 minutes). As a result of considerable ABS activity at sites over that period, and discussion and evaluation of practices by Asbestos TRW members, the Helpful Hints document suggests a more flexible approach to performing ABS. Specifically, it recommends that the sample team attempt to replicate activities known or expected to occur at the property being sampled. Rigid, methodical actions are less emphasized in favor of realistic scenarios.
This supplemental guidance provides OSCs, RPMs, and other Regional personnel with recommendations for Activity-Based Sampling (ABS). ERT has provided assistance for ABS evaluation at many sites and provides these tips to share their collective experience with ABS for asbestos in air.
Laboratory Analysis for Asbestos in Soil and Bulk Materials
California Air Resources Board's 1991 method for determining the asbestos content in serpentine aggregate, based on polarized light microscopy. Sampling techniques are provided. Recommended modifications to this method include increasing the particle size for analysis and reporting asbestos observed through visual estimate or a field of view. Samples should be milled to a particle size for analysis of about 250 um in size. Visual estimate and field of view are used to reveal structures possibly missed by point count in soil samples (see Framework APPENDIX C).
Although developed primarily for analysis of asbestos containing material (such as building materials) as defined in NESHAPs, this method has been used on site soils as a way to detect asbestos from building materials. However, this method is limited and is not recommended for site characterization when addressing Superfund sites. The Framework for Investigating Asbestos-Contaminated Superfund Sites (PDF) (71 pp, 849K) recommends application of CARB Method 435 as augmented in Appendix C of the framework.
The American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) has recently developed a new method for analysis of asbestos in soil and bulk materials. EPA is in the process of evaluating this new sampling method for its applicability to Superfund site characterization.
Laboratory Analysis for Asbestos in Air Samples
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO Method 10312 is a complex method that requires laboratories to record detailed information about Asbestos structure type and size using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). It is considerably more difficult than other TEM methods. Suggested modifications to this method include using a 3:1 aspect ratio for counting of all structures and the use of 0.25 microns as the lower width limit for counting of Polarized Light Microscopy Equivalent (PCME) structures. Filters for analysis by this method should not exceed 25% loading.
This is a companion method to ISO 10312 developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) that provides an alternative preparation for overloaded filters. Filters that exceed 25% loading may be analyzed by this method. However, it should be noted that results by ISO 13794 may differ from those that would have been achieved by ISO 10312 on an appropriately loaded filter. The use of ISO 13794 should be avoided to the extent possible through field techniques that minimize filter overloading.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed this method for measuring worker exposures in occupational environments where asbestos is present. This method should be used when monitoring worker exposure and evaluating compliance with OSHA standards. However, the PCM instrument cannot distinguish between asbestos and non-asbestos fibers. NIOSH Method 7402 is a companion method using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to determine if the fibers viewed by PCM are asbestos fibers.
Due to the limitations of PCM, EPA does not recommend this method for evaluating environmental exposures (See Framework).
Accreditation of Laboratories for Asbestos Analysis
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) runs an accreditation program for laboratories conducting asbestos analyses. Laboratories which participate in the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP), meet minimum standards for conducting PLM and TEM analyses. Laboratories should be further evaluated prior to selection to determine their capability to perform methods recommended in the framework, which are more complex than the basic methods evaluated through NVLAP. Links to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP), listed by state:
NVLAP Accredited Laboratories for the Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) Test Method are accredited to analyze bulk samples for asbestos using polarized light microscopy. NVLAP accredits laboratories for the 1982 procedure, Interim Method for the Determination of Asbestos in Bulk Insulation Samples, found in 40 CFR Part 763, Appendix E to Subpart E (formerly Appendix A to Subpart F)." Additionally, "laboratories may request to be assessed to the Method for the Determination of Asbestos in Bulk Building Materials (EPA 600/R-93/116; 1993)". NIST also states that "NVLAP will not accredit a laboratory for the 1993 method alone; all laboratories must maintain accreditation for the 1982 test method (EPA 600/M4-82-020)
NVLAP Accredited Laboratories for the Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) Test Method are accredited to identify and quantify asbestos using transmission electron microscopy. NVLAP accredits laboratories to the interim test method developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as found in 40 CFR, Part 763, Subpart E, Appendix A, Interim Transmission Electron Microscopy Analytical Methods-Mandatory and Nonmandatory-and Mandatory Section to Determine Completion of Response Actions
National Asbestos Data Entry Spreadsheet (NADES)
EPA has developed a data management tool to facilitate the recording and transmittal of sampling results for asbestos for the methods most often employed in Superfund work. These National Asbestos Data Entry Sheets (NADES) are provided below for PLM analysis of bulk materials air and dust analysis by TEM and Air samples by PCM.
NADES includes checks and error codes to guide data entry and allows for the sorting of structures into size bins." If all goes well, also "NADES provides a tool to generate standardized electronic data deliverables for import into Scribe software or other data management tools.
Instructions and additional information concerning using SCRIBE for asbestos sites are available at http://www.epaosc.org/asbestosdatamgmt
This webpage contains EPA's Integrated Risk Information System cancer assessment for asbestos that was last revised on 07/01/1993. EPA has classified asbestos (CASRN 1332-21-4) as a human carcinogen and established an inhalation unit risk of (IUR0 of 2.3E-1 per (f/mL) to estimate cancer risk from exposure to asbestos.
Presentations and Training
Activity-Based Air Sampling for Asbestos (CLU-IN Presentation)
Sample This! Asbestos in Soil (2013 Brownfields Conference)