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:: Sample Collection






Sample collection - procedure for sampling  asbestos, lead

Precautions to be used when sampling

The homeowner or the individual taking samples must use
appropriate personal protection equipment, e.g. disposable gloves and

Additional precautions for asbestos  -  3-M masks are not adequate
protection when taking asbestos samples.  In order to  prevent
asbestos release,  mist the suspected area first with water to reduce
the chance of releasing asbestos fibers into the air.

Mail the sample with the laboratory fee of $45.00.   Multiple samples
in the same shipment are $24.00 each.

Mastic and floor tile are 2 samples.

EMS Laboratories, Inc. 
117 W. Bellevue Dr. Suite 3
Pasadena, CA 91105-2503

Asbestos Sampling

Asbestos may be found in sprayed-on acoustic ceilings (cottage cheese
type), vinyl floor tile, linoleum backing, insulation and stucco in buildings built before 1979.  It is found occasionally in structures built after 1979.

1- For vinyl floor tile and linoleum samples, take a 1 to 2 inch sample. 
Include the mastic/glue on the back since it frequently contains asbestos.

2- For ceiling tile and stucco samples or any material that is friable, mist

the suspected area first with water.  This reduces the chance of 
releasing asbestos fibers into the air.  Clean up any debris to make
certain that none of the suspect asbestos becomes airborne.

Take a one-half teaspoon sample.  Place the sample in a double
zip-lock bag.  Include a check for $45.00.  Multiple samples in the same
shipment are $45 for the first  and $24.00 each additional.  Mastic and floor tile are 2 samples.

Lead in Paint

Peeling paint around wooden window and door frames and seals are
areas of concern.

1- Take about one-half teaspoon (approximately 0.5 grams) of sample
and place inside a zip-lock bag.

2- Mail the sample with the laboratory fee of $45.00.   Multiple samples
in the same shipment are $24.00 each.

EMS Laboratories, Inc. 
117 W. Bellevue Dr. Suite 3
Pasadena, CA 91105-2503

Lead in Drinking Water

1- Sampling container should be at least 250 ml pre-cleaned plastic.

2- Mail the sample with the laboratory fee of $45.00.  Multiple samples in the same shipment are $35.00 each.

(AS EXCERPTED FROM U.S. EPA 600/4-83-043)

Sample Container

The sample container should be an unused, precleaned, screw-capped bottle of glass or low density (conventional) polyethylene and capable of holding at least 1 liter.  It is recommended that the use of polypropylene bottles be avoided since problems of particulates being released into water samples have been observed.  Ideally, water samples are best collected in glass bottle.  However; glass can have significant levels of asbestos on the surfaces, and therefore, requires careful cleaning before use.  Glass is also difficult to ship because of possible breakage through dropping or freezing;   Because of these disadvantages, polyethylene bottles are more convenient to use, and therefore, are recommended-

The bottles should first be rinsed twice by filling approximately one-third full with fiber-free water and shaking vigorously for 30 seconds.   After discarding the rinse water, the bottles should then be filled with fiber-free water and treated in an ultrasonic bath for 15 minutes, followed by rinses with fiber-free water.

Sample  Collection

The general principles of obtaining water samples apply.  Some specific considerations apply to asbestos fibers because they are a special type of particulate matter.  These fibers are small, and in water, range in length from O.
1 µm to 20 µm or more.

Because of the range of sizes there may be a vertical distribution of particle sizes in large bodies of water.  This distribution may vary with depth depending upon the vertical distribution of temperature, the water current patterns and the local meteorological conditions.  Sampling should take place according to the objective of the analysis.   If a representative sample of a water supply is required, a carefully designated set of samples should be taken representing the vertical as well as the horizontal distribution, and these samples should be composited for analysis.

When sampling from a faucets remove all hoses or fittings and allow the water to run to waste for a sufficiently long period to ensure that the sample collected is representative of fresh water.   Faucets or valves should not be adjusted until all samples have been collected.   If possible, sampling at hydrants and at the ends of distribution systems should be avoided.

As an additional precaution against contamination, before collection of the samples, each bottle may be rinsed several times in the source water being sampled.  In the case of depth sampling in bodies of water, this rinsing may compromise the results and should be omitted.

Quantity of Sample

At least 800 milliliters of sample is required.  Ideally, two separate samples should be collected.   The second bottle is stored for analysis if confirmation of the results obtained from the analysis of the first bottle is required.  An air space of approximately 1" must be left in the bottle to allow efficient redispersal of settled material before analysis and for ozone treatment if necessary.

Sample Preservation and Storage

Samples must be transported to the analytical laboratory as soon as possible after collection.  Date and time of sampling must be noted on submittal forms.  The names of the collectors with their signatures and the site must included on the chain-of-custody forms.  If the samples do not arrive within 48 hours of sampling at EMS, they must be treated with ozone-UV at the laboratory to remove bacteria. No preservatives should be added during sampling; the addition of acids should be particularly avoided.


Samples are prepared and analyzed by the method described in the EPA 600 R 94 134, 100.2.   The new drinking water regulation calls for an MCL (maximum contaminant level) of 7 MFL fibers, >10 µm in length and an analytical sensitivity level of <0.2 MFL (millions of fibers per liter).  Asbestos analysis for all size fibers is performed by the method described in EPA  600/4-83-043 and EPA 600 R 94 134, 100.1, if the additional information regarding the total asbestos content is required.

Charges and Turnaround Times

EMS' standard turnaround is 5 days. 
For expedited results, the
surcharges are:   
Same day - 100%
24-hours - 50%
48-hours -

We accept VISA/Master Credit Card.

EMS Laboratories, Inc. 
117 W. Bellevue Dr. Suite 3
Pasadena, CA 91105-2503

  EMS LABORATORIES / 117 W. Bellevue Dr. / Pasadena, CA  91105-2503 / (626) 568-4065 / (800) 675-5777 / Fax (626) 796-5282