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  Special Case Bulk
  Dust (Microvac)
  TEM vs. PCM

Technical Information

TEM Bulk Analysis for Five Special Case Bulk Building Materials

 Five bulk building materials have been categorized by EPA that
  are very difficult to analyze by polarized light microscopy (PLM).
 EPA recommends these materials be analyzed by transmission
  electron microscopy (TEM). (EPA 600/R-93/116 Appendix D)
 “Analysis by TEM is capable of providing positive identification
  of asbestos types and semi-quantitation of asbestos content.”
 PLM Point Counting methodology is not recommended for these
 False negative results for vinyl asbestos floor tile are
  typically 20-30%.
 New York State Department of Health requires tiles found negative
   by PLM to be reanalyzed by TEM.
 These materials are dominantly nonfriable and fall into the
  following categories:

  1. Cementitious Products (pipe, sheeting, etc.)
  2. Viscous Matrix Products (adhesives, cements, coatings, etc.)
  3. Vinyl Material (vinyl floor tile, sheeting)
  4. Asphaltic Roofing Materials (shingles, roll roofing)
  5. Miscellaneous Products (paints, coatings, friction plates, gaskets, etc.)

Note the obvious fiber bundles of chrysotile asbestos (Fig.1), the lack of fiber bundles in floor tile (Fig.2) and obvious fibers of chrysotile by TEM (Fig. 3). Over 20% of NVLAP laboratories reported this tile as negative (Figs. 2 & 3).

Figure 1
CH Asbestos
Scope Mag. 100x
Dispersion Staining

Figure 2
Vinyl Asbestos Tile
Scope Mag. 100x

Figure 3
Vinyl Asbestos Tile
Scope Mag. 13,000x

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Phone (502) 244-7135· FAX (502) 244-7136