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Issue 6, 1998
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Development of a method for the determination of low contents of asbestos fibres in bulk material


Asbestos is a category 1 carcinogen under the EU classification, but in the absence of a method to quantify asbestos in a matrix at the 0.1% level, there has been a delay in implementing relevant directives to asbestos. An analytical scheme for identification and quantification of asbestos using polarised light microscopy (PLM) and phase contrast optical microscopy (PCM) has now been developed. When used on artificial mixtures by an experienced laboratory, it achieved the required target performance, at 0.1% asbestos concentration by mass in a bulk sample, to obtain a result, which with 90% probability, is correct within a factor of two. The method of identification by PLM and quantification by PCM has been assessed by interlaboratory comparisons. The method begins with an initial identification using PLM, and depending on asbestos type and matrix a combination of preparation procedures are used to produce the analytical filter. A gentle comminution method was used which reduces the risk of overmilling. The asbestos mass percentage on the filter is quantified using PCM in combination with a PLM attachment for identification of possible non-asbestos fibres. The final method is supported by efficient methods for fibre identification for size determination and calculation of total fibre volume. A statistical analysis of mass concentration estimates was made and the effect of preferred orientation of fibres on the analytical filter was quantified.

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Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/A800292D
Citation: Analyst, 1998,123, 1393-1400
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    Development of a method for the determination of low contents of asbestos fibres in bulk material

    T. Schneider, O. Jørgensen, L. S. T. Davies, D. Buchanan, G. Burdett, J. Tempelman, S. Puledda and L. Paoletti, Analyst, 1998, 123, 1393
    DOI: 10.1039/A800292D

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