New ASTM Standard Provides Asbestos Guidance

March 10, 2008
A new American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International standard offers guidance for using asbestos testing data and helps define the extent of asbestos contamination in surface dust.

The standard, ASTM D 7390, Guide for Evaluating Asbestos in Dust on Surfaces by Comparison Between Two Environments, can assist building owners as they consider whether one area of a building has more asbestos in the dust than another area.

James Millette, executive director of MVA Scientific Consultants and chair of the ASTM Sampling and Analysis of Asbestos subcommittee, told that D 7390 gives cleanup crews the ability “to essentially map out how far away the explosion created an increase in the amount of asbestos in the dust and what would have normally been found.”

“Let’s say you think there was a release of asbestos at a certain point – there was some sort of an explosion or some sort of removal that wasn’t done properly – and you clean up that particular area but you want to know how far away you need to go. You can’t always tell by just looking,” Millette said. “These methods would allow you to collect the samples, and then the guide allows you to make the comparison between those areas that are nearby versus an area in another building or an area further away.”

Before the new guide can be implemented, asbestos must first be measured with one of the following ASTM standards:

  • D 5755, Test Method for Microvacuum Sampling and Indirect Analysis of Dust by Transmission Electron Microscopy for Asbestos Structure Number Surface Loading;
  • D 5756, Test Method for Microvacuum Sampling and Indirect Analysis of Dust by Transmission Electron Microscopy for Asbestos Mass Concentration; and
  • D 6480, Test Method for Wipe Sampling of Surfaces, Indirect Preparation, and Analysis for Asbestos Structure Number Concentration by Transmission Electron Microscopy.

“After measuring the amount of asbestos in surface dust at various points in a facility where an asbestos release is thought to have occurred, D 7390 can be used to make sense of the data,” Millette said.

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