Asbestos air monitoring is the precautionary process that involves testing for breathable asbestos fibers in the air to help in evaluating exposure and check the efficiency of control processes. This type of monitoring is carried out where asbestos-containing products are in bad condition and may emit asbestos fibers into the surrounding air, or places that served as stores but have been freed of asbestos-containing materials.
During this procedure, only breathable asbestos fibers—i.e., those with fibers less than 3 μm wide and more than 5 μm long, and a Length: Width of more than 3:1— are considered a health risk.
While there’s a presumption that nearly all fibers viewed under a phase contrast microscope that meet specific sizes and shapes are asbestos, further asbestos air testing may be needed to analyze the chemical composition with the help of TEM (transmission electron microscopy) assessment equipment.
When to Carry Out Asbestos Air Monitoring
According to the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission, asbestos air monitoring should be carried out whenever Asbestos-containing material (ACM) are being removed from one place to the next to make sure that the control procedures—when working with ACM— are effective. Airborne asbestos fibers are emitted when ACMs disintegrate. What’s more, Asbestos air monitoring can give you a quantitative analysis of the overall risk.
Asbestos air monitoring is compulsory in case of friable asbestos material— those that can be crushed and grounded into small particles or powder.
The different forms of Asbestos Air Monitoring
There are four different forms of asbestos air monitoring depending on your needs and the potential health risks the ACMs could pose.
• Background asbestos air monitoring
• Asbestos exposure air monitoring,
• Control air monitoring; and
• Clearance air monitoring
Background asbestos air monitoring
It involves conducting tests in the air in the suspected area for breathable fibers before to getting down on work that may disturb asbestos materials. The procedure may be carried out to check for the presence of other fibers in the air.
Exposure asbestos air monitoring
Involves assessing the air in an individual’s breathing zone to define their likely exposure to breathable asbestos fibers. Exposure monitoring is designed to almost accurately estimate the subject’s exposure in comparison to national exposure standards.
Control asbestos air monitoring
It is the testing of air to assess the level of breathable airborne asbestos fibers in the surroundings while working on ACM. Control monitoring is meant to test how effective a control measure is while working on or doing away with asbestos-containing materials.
Clearance asbestos air monitoring
Entails conducting air tests to check the rates of airborne asbestos fibers in the surroundings after work or elimination of ACM. A zone or place is ‘cleared’ if the level of floating asbestos fibers is below 0.01 fibers/mL.
Closing Up When selecting asbestos air testing, monitoring and control services, ensure to pick a service provider that works in line with the Guidance Note on the Membrane Filter Method for Estimating Airborne Asbestos Fibres 2nd Edition [NOHSC: 3003 (2005)].