What Is the Process

Asbestos Laboratory Services are accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 to test samples of suspect materials using Polarised Light Microscopy (PLM) against the HSE technical manual HSG248. All of our analysts hold the a P401 Certificate of competency Identification of Asbestos in Bulk Samples (PLM) by the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS)

Each sample is prepared in a HEPA Filtered Booth by an analyst whilst observing the materials through a Stereo Microscope. Suspect fibres are extracted and mounted onto a glass slide with a carefully selected Refractive Index Fluid (RI) to match that of the suspected asbestos type.

This slide is then observed on a Polarised Light Microscope and further analysed utilising Kohler Illumination. Only then can the fibre be clearly identified as asbestiform or NON Asbestos.

Identifying Asbestos

With over 3000 different products known to contain asbestos, it is important you check any suspected Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) prior to works which may disturb it and potentially expose people to asbestos fibres.

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Stages of Analysis

All stages of analysis on the polarised light microscope that must be completed for an accurate result are:

  • Pleochroism
  • Birefringence
  • Angle of Extinction
  • Sign of Elongation
  • Dispersion Staining

The 6 types of asbestos, all of which ALS can positively identify, are:

  • Chrysotile (White Asbestos)
  • Amosite (Brown Asbestos)
  • Crocidolite (Blue Asbestos)
  • Tremolite (Rare)
  • Anthopyllite (Rare)
  • Actinolite (Rare)

The Steps


You can take and send samples direct to one of our two in-house UKAS accredited 17025 asbestos testing laboratories.


Our team of analysts can analyse multiple sample batches. Contact Us for a fixed cost quotation.


One of our local asbestos surveyors will attend your commercial or domestic property and take samples of suspected asbestos material for you.