Asbestos testing — Sydney, NSW and Australia-wide

Think you may have found asbestos? Get peace of mind fast with Airsafe.

Airsafe’s NATA accredited laboratory uses state-of-the-art equipment to get you a definitive answer about asbestos. We get you the results quickly — the same day if required — with no additional fees for a fast turnaround, just a low fixed price per sample.

Questions about asbestos testing? Call Airsafe on (02) 9555 9034

 

Collecting a sample for asbestos identification

The first step is to take a small sample of the material you want to be tested for asbestos. This is a simple thing to do, but there are some basic safety precautions that you should take. Here’s our step-by-step guide:

  1. Always use a P2 disposable dust mask when dealing with suspect materials. You can buy these at your local hardware store.
  2. Wet the material to suppress dust release.
  3. Carefully collect a sample using hand tools (sample size should be 5-100g). We recommend using pliers with the inside edges protected with a wet wipe.
  4. Place the sample (including the wet wipe if used) in a click lock plastic bag. You can find these at any supermarket.
  5. Double bag your sample in a second sealable plastic bag.
  6. After sampling, you should use paint to seal any broken material with the potential to cause airborne asbestos dust.
  7. Complete this form, click “Get printable version” and print out the resulting page. Then put the form and the double-bagged sample in an envelope.
  8. If you can, bring your sample in person to Airsafe at 93 Beattie Street, Balmain NSW. (Call us first on (02) 9555 9034 to let us know you’re coming.)
  9. If you can’t bring your sample in person, call us on (02) 9555 9034 to make other arrangements.

Airsafe’s asbestos testing lab

Asbestos identification must be done in a laboratory with the proper equipment. At Airsafe, we don’t outsource sample analysis to a third-party asbestos testing lab. Instead, we have our own state-of-the-art laboratory where we analyse samples in full detail, using a rigorous process and advanced testing methods including Polarised Light Microscopy (PLM) and Dispersion Staining (DS).

Amosite asbestos viewed under a PLM microscope

By owning our own fully-equipped asbestos testing laboratory, we can make sure that:

  • Sample analysis results are provided as quickly as possible, without compromising the rigour of the testing process.
  • Airsafe’s asbestos inspectors can take any necessary samples during the asbestos inspection process, without having to worry about the costs of third-party testing.
  • All laboratory asbestos testing is conducted by highly trained staff

NATA Accreditation

Airsafe’s asbestos testing lab is accredited for asbestos fibre identification by NATA, the National Association of Testing Authorities. NATA accreditation is strictly controlled and difficult to obtain. It’s your guarantee that Airsafe’s sample analysis process conforms with the most rigorous scientific method, and that our asbestos identification test results are reliable and complete.

Our industry reputation

Airsafe is more than just an asbestos testing lab: we’re Sydney’s most experienced asbestos consultancy. For over 30 years, we’ve been conducting asbestos surveys, air monitoring and clearance inspections for everyone from households to large corporations and government departments. SafeWork NSW even uses our documentation as an example of industry best practice. There’s no-one better qualified to help you with asbestos issues than Airsafe.

Cost of asbestos testing

Some asbestos testing companies advertise what might seem like a low price for sample testing. However, these low prices often include hidden extras that make the final price of testing much more expensive. These extras can include:

  • Surcharges of up to 100% for a fast turnaround (the lowest price is often based on a 5 day turnaround — who wants to wait that long to find out if they have asbestos?)
  • Administration “batch fees”
  • Minimum reporting fees that make it more expensive to have a single sample tested
  • Excess charges for samples that exceed a certain size or weight

At Airsafe, we make it simple: we charge a single, low flat fee per sample tested. It’s the same price per sample whether you’re having one sample tested or 10, and we offer fast turnaround times for every sample — timeliness is not an added extra for us.

To check Airsafe’s current price for asbestos sample testing, just give us a call on (02) 9555 9034.

Testing for loose fill asbestos insulation

You may have seen media coverage about the loose fill asbestos insulation that’s been discovered in some NSW homes. This loose fill insulation was installed in the 1960s and 70s by the ACT-based business Mr Fluffy.  loose fill asbestos insulation in a Sydney home

If you’re concerned that your ceiling might contain loose fill asbestos insulation, Airsafe can set your mind at rest with our quick, reliable, NATA-accredited asbestos testing service.

Because loose fill asbestos insulation is a friable form of asbestos, we don’t recommend that you take your own sample in this situation. Instead, call Airsafe on (02) 9555 9034. We’ll arrange for one of our Licensed Asbestos Assessors to visit your home and collect a sample.

Note that the NSW Government free testing program for loose fill asbestos has now finished. You will be responsible for the costs of the testing, at Airsafe’s affordable rates.

Find out more about loose fill asbestos insulation.

Asbestos testing kits

What about one of those home asbestos testing kits that are sometimes sold in hardware stores? Isn’t that easier than sending a sample for identification in a testing lab?

Unfortunately, no. Once you look into these so-called DIY asbestos testing kits, you’ll find that they don’t allow you to test for asbestos at home. After all, you probably don’t have a PLM microscope lying around. Instead, asbestos test kits just include some basic equipment for taking a sample (the same equipment we recommend, which you can easily buy yourself), and a certificate for asbestos testing at a lab somewhere in Australia — with no guarantees about turnaround time.

In other words, if you want to know who you’re dealing with, and you want a quick result either way, you’re better off organising an asbestos test through Airsafe than taking your chances with an asbestos testing kit.

What does asbestos look like? Can you identify it over the phone?

People often call us and ask how to identify asbestos. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. Firstly, there are several different types of asbestos. The main ones found in Australia are:

  • Chrysotile asbestos (also known as “white asbestos”)
  • Amosite asbestos (also known as “brown asbestos”)
  • Crocidolite asbestos (also known as “blue asbestos”)

picture of crocidolite, amosite and chrysotile asbestos

The three types of asbestos in their pure form

Secondly, in the real world asbestos is rarely used in its pure form, but is mixed with other materials to make a huge variety of different products. (This is why you often see references to ACM, or asbestos containing materials.) These asbestos products can potentially be found in many different places, inside and outside the home.

Thirdly, many products that used to contain asbestos have been replaced with equivalent products that are asbestos-free — but there may be little or no visual difference between the two.

In other words, the only real answer to the question “How do I identify asbestos?” is “You need a trained lab technician and a powerful microscope”. If you have any concerns at all that something in your home might be asbestos, it’s best to err on the side of safety, and submit a sample for analysis in Airsafe’s lab.

Asbestos testing Australia-wide

Although Airsafe’s asbestos testing laboratory is based in Sydney, we’re happy to analyse samples from anywhere in Australia. So if you need asbestos testing in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, or anywhere else in the country, give us a call on (02) 9555 9034 and we’ll tell you how to get your sample with us. You’ll often get a quicker result than our competitors can offer, even including the time it takes to send your sample interstate!

Questions about asbestos testing? Call Airsafe on (02) 9555 9034

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