How to Test For Asbestos – A Known Cause Of Mesothelioma

Testing For Asbestos

Microscopic asbestos fibers (photo by: asbestorama)

Microscopic asbestos fibers (photo by: asbestorama)

There are several ways to test for Asbestos a known cause of mesothelioma in your home. I will first explain the Different methods used to test, before I get into who to contact to have it done. There are particular tests that are more accurate to determine specifically the amount of asbestos in the area tested. Some methods are far more accurate than others.

Sampling of the air for asbestos

Phase Contrast Microscopy

The results of this test are not specific to asbestos fibers. They simply report the number of fibers (of any type) per cubic centimeter in the air tested. This method of testing is not accurate and is not a standard test used in most situations.

Transmission Electron Microscopy

Results of this testing method are reported as structures per square millimeter they are specific for the determination of asbestos fibers present. This typically is the type of test performed and required in Schools K-12 after completion of an asbestos abatement project. In order for a school to be occupied again it will need to pass this testing method.

Two other methods used for the testing of asbestos in solid form are:

  • Polarized-Light Microscope
  • Transmission Electron Microscope

New York State Department of Health’s  faq document will go over some frequently asked questions.


How can I have my home tested for asbestos?

To test for asbestos, people usually take a sample of the item that they think contains this substance. The sample is sent out to a lab, which uses the above methods to detect fibers. Because asbestos can be very dangerous, I would advise that people turn to professionals to pull samples for the testing. If you are selling your home it is often required that you test for asbestos. In order to make the test “official” you will need to have a professional do the testing at the site, as opposed to sending it out.

If you are considering the purchase of an older home you should absolutely have an asbestos test done before the purchase. Asbestos can be costly to remove, and will need to be done by a professional in order to be safely done.

This facility called Western Analytical lab will test your potentially asbestos containing material. You can send it to them in the mail and will test it within 24 hours.  

Can I perform the Testing procedure at home?

Yes you can, although I would be uncertain of the results you would get. They do make asbestos testing kits available on the internet.

Testing for asbestos is an easy step to take to protect you and your family.