CES is proud to announce we have gained IANZ accreditation for an exciting and innovative technique that utilises Polarised Light Microscopy (PLM) for asbestos fibre counting on air filters. 
While accredited fibre counting is an essential technique used for air monitoring and clearances (following removal of asbestos), there is no way to identify if the fibres being counted are asbestos with the common PCM method used. To find out this valuable information, an additional fibre count would be required using expensive techniques such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), which are usually not accredited and sometimes sub-contracted to laboratories outside New Zealand. 
PCM and PLM: what do these acronyms mean??

PCM is a widely used technique performed on air filter samples that have been collected for environmental monitoring, personnel monitoring, and clearance testing after asbestos removals. The analyst sizes and counts individual fibres that are present on the filters in order to give a concentration of respirable fibres for the volume of air sampled. PCM is a fast and low-cost technique, however it cannot be used to distinguish between asbestos and non-asbestos fibres.

PLM is currently the most common and widely accepted method for analysis of a range of bulk building materials and soil for asbestos presence. By utilizing the PLM, analysts test the optical properties of fibrous components of a sample to differentiate asbestos from non-asbestos fibres. When used for bulk analysis fibres are mounted in refractive index oils and examined under the PLM allowing experienced analysts to distinguish between different types of asbestos.
The new technique on offer at Capital Environmental Services Ltd combines PCM and PLM to allow us to distinguish between asbestos (amphibole or serpentine) and non-asbestos respirable fibres that are collected on filters following air sampling. The procedures can be performed in-house at CES under the stringent quality assurance protocols required for accreditation for a fraction of the price of SEM or TEM analysis.
For $125/sample (excluding GST), reports will provide an asbestos fibre count, non-asbestos fibre count and an asbestos concentration to the reporting limit of 0.01 fibres/millilitre. Download our sample submission form and ensure “Asbestos PLM Count” is ticked if you would like to send in filters for this analysis.
If you have had an asbestos survey by CES staff we would love to hear from you. Please click here to send us your feedback.
If you have general feedback on our services, please 
click here to tell us more.
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