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Asbestos and mineral fibres testing

Asbestos and mineral fibres testing

Asbestos is a mineral fiber whose use was banned in many countries due to the risk of contracting serious diseases resulting from prolonged inhalation. Like asbestos, also glass fibres (such as mineral wool, refractory ceramic fibres, etc.) can cause damage to health and require special care when handling or disposing.

Despite being banned for years in Europe, asbestos is still present in the workplace and on ships, trains, equipment, tunnels and pipelines of public and private water networks. Since it was widely used as building material between 1961 and 1990, millions of tons of asbestos are still present in buildings and pose a risk not only for workers in the construction and maintenance sectors, but potentially for anyone who occupies these buildings or just enters them. 

In its opinion on the issue “Freeing the EU from asbestos”, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) states that the complete removal of all asbestos and all products containing it must be a priority for the European Union.

Asbestos is also present in the natural environment in rocks, so even the naturally occurring asbestos should be monitored, especially for people living in those areas.

On the other side, even mineral fibers were used in the building sector as substitute for asbestos, but many investigations have shown that this type of material is also dangerous to health, and for this exposition, especially of workers, should be monitored.

Another naturally present material that is potentially dangerous for the respirable fraction is crystalline silica

Techniques similar to those applied to asbestos and fibres can help to detect and monitor the exposition to these natural materials.

Asbestos and mineral fibres: matrices to test

Among the most frequently analysed matrices for asbestos and synthetic vitreous fibres there are:

  • Building materials or roofs used in the past decades;
  • Solid waste, construction waste, refractory material;
  • Track ballast;
  • Pipes.

When asbestos is naturally occurring, it can be found in certain types of rocks, sediments and soils.

Respirable crystalline silica is airborne dust and atmospheric emissions calculate workers exposition in all sectors that use and transform building materials, rocks and aggregates     mainly for construction and public works.

Mérieux NutriSciences’ expertise: different techniques for different goals

Mérieux NutriSciences offers its unique experience in the analysis of asbestos and glass fibres: over the years, effective techniques have been developed for the detection, quantification and characterization of total asbestos, asbestos in powder and free fibres in each matrix and at any concentration.

Some of these techniques have proved useful to evaluate the presence of natural asbestos and respirable crystalline silica.

In addition to tests, Mérieux NutriSciences deals with the listing, mapping and characterization of industrial products made of materials containing asbestos in workplaces, buildings, plants, etc.; it also assesses the preservation status of products containing asbestos and the assessment of health risks through recognized algorithms. The assessment of the status of asbestos-concrete roofs is also carried out according to the applicable regulations. 

Mérieux NutriSciences: a global service for asbestos and mineral fibres testing

Our expertise with asbestos and mineral fibres allow us to provide you with various services matching your needs.

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