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Material Analysis and Characterization Service
MACS Lab, Inc.
431 Crown Point Circle, Suite 120
Grass Valley, CA 95945-9531
1-800 MACS LAB, 1-800-622-7522
(530) 274-1470
Fax (530) 274-1636
Email info@macslab.com
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Useful Terms

Asbestos Terms
Lead Terms

Asbestos Terms

  • Abatement
    The process of treating asbestos to reduce or remove its hazard potential. The three methods of abatement are removal, or taking the asbestos out; encasement, which is enclosing the asbestos behind or within an impermeable covering, and encapsulation, which is a process of "binding" the asbestos material with a liquid which subsequently dries and forms a "shell." Of the three methods, only removal is permanent!

  • AHERA
    Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act. Promulgated under TSCA, this regulation required schools (k-12 public and private non-profit) be inspected for asbestos. It also established training requirements for workers who would remove asbestos from the schools, and created the framework for Local Education Agencies (LEA's) to establish asbestos Management Plans. A subsequent rule, ASHARA, established that asbestos related work performed in public and commercial buildings would be performed by personnel whose training meets the AHERA requirements.

    AHERA is also a common name for the method of analysis of air samples required under the AHERA regulation. This method uses a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) to distinguish asbestos from other fibers. AHERA requires this method for determining if a school is "clean" after an asbestos abatement action. The EPA requires that results be less than 70 structures per millimeter squared (s/mm2) to pass a school project.

  • Air Monitoring
    Collecting samples of air for the purposes of determining the quantity of airborne fibers. Depending upon the method of analysis, either all fibers are counted, or only asbestos fibers. Air samples are collected either in the breathing zone of workers (personal air samples) or in large areas. During an abatement project it is customary to have air samples taken outside the work area to ensure and document that the asbestos fibers did not migrate to unprotected areas.

  • Asbestos
    A generic name given to a number of naturally occurring hydrated mineral silicates that possess a unique crystalline structure, are incombustible in air, and are separable into fibers. Asbestos includes the asbestiform varieties of chrysotile (serpentine), crocidolite (riebeckite), amosite (cummingtonite-grunerite), anthophyllite, actinolite, and tremolite.

  • Asbestos "Bulk" Sampling
    Taking samples of materials to determine whether nor not it contains delectable asbestos. The EPA recommended method for analysis is Polarized Light Microscopy.

  • Certified Asbestos Consultant (CAC)
    In California, an individual who by virtue of training, experience and passing a state administered test is certified to perform asbestos consulting activities.

  • Chain of Custody (COC)
    A formal procedure for tracking samples and insuring their integrity.

  • Clearance Inspections and Clearance Monitoring
    After an abatement action has taken place, it is prudent to have the work area inspected by an person independent of the contractor. This clearance inspection should be visual and tactile in nature, and should ensure that no residual asbestos fibers are remaining. Following the successful visual/tactile inspection, air monitoring should be performed to determine that the airborne fiber concentration within the removal area is less than or equal to the ambient (i.e., outside) air.

  • Friable Asbestos
    Asbestos containing material which can be crumbled to dust when dry, under hand pressure.

  • HEPA Filter
    High Efficiency Filter Absolute - capable of capturing 99.97% of fibers at the .3 micron size range. This filter is used during abatement and clean-up activities to ensure that asbestos fibers are captured and not spread into the environment.

  • Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM)
    Method of analysis for air samples which is required by OSHA for the determination of exposures to workers. The method does not distinguish asbestos from non-asbestos fibers. Engineering controls and personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers performing asbestos related work are triggered by the results of PCM air samples. Sometimes this method of analysis is used for post abatement monitoring, particularly for projects preceding demolition of structures. In order to pass a project using PCM, the result(s) must be less than 0.01 fibers per cubic centimeter (f/cc).

  • Point Counting
    If the PLM lab results show less than 1% (< 1%) it is subject to the OSHA regulation which states that a workman must not be exposed to construction material that contains greater than one tenth of one percent (0.1%). If the PLM sample results are reported as < 1% it still may mean that the sample is greater than 0.1%. Due to the limitations of the PLM, a Point Count is recommended for those samples that fall into this category of greater than 0.1% and 1%.

  • Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM)
    EPA recommended method for analyzing materials for the presence of asbestos. The method is often supplemented with techniques to remove other physical and chemical components of the sample and thus make the asbestos more readily visible. EPA maximum allowable asbestos in a bulk sample is less than 1%. If the sample is 1% or greater, it is considered an Asbestos Containing-Material (ACM) and must be removed by a licensed asbestos removal contractor and disposed of in an EPA Class II hazardous dump.

  • Project Management
    During abatement it is often prudent to have a professional representing the interests of the building owner to oversee the project.

  • Specification
    Guidelines which a contractor will follow in removing or otherwise abating asbestos containing materials. In California asbestos specifications are written by Certified Asbestos Consultants.

  • Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM)
    A powerful electron beam microscope that can distinguish microscopic asbestos fibers from other fibers which have been collected during air monitoring.

  • Yamate Level II
    A method of analyzing air samples that uses a TEM to distinguish asbestos from other fibers. Yamate Level II is more stringent than AHERA because it does not limit the size of fiber which is counted. Yamate Level II is often the method of choice for analysis in occupied buildings other than schools.

Lead Terms

  • Abatement
    The process of treating lead paint to reduce or remove its hazard potential. The three methods of abatement are removal, or taking the lead off the surface; encasement, which is enclosing the lead paint behind or within an impermeable covering; and replacement which is the process of removing the building component and replacing it with a new piece.

  • Air Monitoring
    Collecting samples of air for the purposes of determining the quantity of lead dust. Air samples are collected either in the breathing zone of workers (personal air samples) or in large areas. During an abatement project it is customary to have air samples taken outside the work area to ensure and document that the lead dust did not migrate to unprotected areas.

  • Atomic Absorption (AA)
    The method of analysis used to determine the percent of lead in paint chips, dust samples, soil and water. This is a laboratory (as opposed to field) method. The results are reported in parts per million (ppm) and/or in % lead for amount of material tested.

  • Chemical Symbol
    Pb

  • Clearance Sampling
    After a lead abatement action, it is customary (and required by HUD) to take wipe samples of measured areas of the room to determine the residual levels of lead dust. The samples are analyzed by atomic absorption, and results are reported in micrograms per square foot. The current EPA recommendations for clearance are:
    Uncarpeted Floors - 40 μg/sq.ft
    Interior Window sills - 250 μg/sq.ft.
    Window Troughs, wells - 400 μg/sq.ft

  • HUD
    Housing and Urban Development; the Federal agency which is currently in charge of public housing. HUD has published guidelines for the testing and risk assessment of lead in public housing, aimed toward reducing lead poisoning primarily in children and women of child bearing potential.

  • Lead
    Naturally occurring element which has been proven to have severe health effects if breathed or ingested. Only tetraethyl lead (i.e., the kind of lead used in gasoline) is known to be readily absorbed by the skin.

  • Lead Based Paint
    Paint (also putties, glazes and other surface coatings) which contain a "dangerous" amount of lead. Under current regulations paint with greater than 600 parts per million is no longer manufactured for household use, but it is still available for marine and other exterior use.

  • Lead Inspection
    The process of inspecting a building or dwelling to determine the presence of lead in the painted surfaces. The determination of "lead" is different for HUD than it is for OSHA. HUD defines "lead paint" as having greater than 1 microgram per square centimeter of surface or .5% by weight; OSHA has no threshold limit: any detectable lead in a paint makes it lead paint as far as worker exposures are concerned. Lead inspections are performed by XRF, paint chip analysis, or a combination of both.

  • Project Management
    During abatement it is often prudent to have a professional representing the interests of the buidling owner to oversee the project.

  • Specification
    Guidelines for a contractor to following in removing or otherwise disturbing lead paint.