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Laboratory worker who analyzes the presence of asbestos

AIRTESTS offers certified expertise in asbestos fiber research in materials containing asbestos (MCA), material susceptible to contain asbestos (MSCA) and fiber counting in air suspension services; conformity zone, daily tests and final tests. You can consult the website of the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec to know the reasons why it is advisable to carry out the asbestos characterization tests.

AIRTESTS meets the standards of the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the IRSST (Robert Sauvé Institute for Occupational Health and Safety) and the CSST (Commission for Occupational Health and Safety). It is based on the principles of the sampling protocol drafted by the EPA that the IRSST and the CSST rely to carry out asbestos surveys in buildings. The outline of this procedure defines a minimum number of samples to be taken according to the surface area of the same homogeneous material encountered. In addition, the EPA advises to avoid using the services of the same contractor to carry out corrective work and air quality tests, as this situation in itself represents a potential for conflict of interest. Recognized methods for asbestos testing

IRSST Method 244-3 (MLP) - Mineralogical Characterization in Polarizing Microscopy and Color Dispersion As the case may be and in order to extract the fibers, the samples have undergone a slight mechanical grinding. The particles and fibers produced were transferred to slides, covered with a coverslip and bathed in suitable refractive index liquids to observe the color dispersion. The orthoscopic and conoscopic optical properties of the samples are also used if they make it possible to complete the characterization.

IRSST Method 243-1 (MOCP) - Phase Contrast Optical Microscopy Provides a good index of workplace exposure when the predominant type of fiber in the air is asbestos. Sampling is carried out using an extended conductive cassette with a mixed cellulose ester (ECM) membrane. The sampling rate is variable to measure a weighted average exposure value in an industrial setting to measure fiber concentration in low-dust environments such as public buildings.

ELAP Method 198.4 (TEM) - Mineralogical Characterization by Transmission Electron Microscopy Transmission electron microscope method for the identification and quantification of asbestos in non-friable bulk samples bound by organic materials. Electron microscopy analyzes are performed with the FEI Tecnai Twin TEM and EDAX Genesis System using X-ray energy dispersive analysis (EDXA) and the electron diffraction model (SAED) selection for the recognition of species of asbestos fibers.


Heating pipe insulated with asbestos

The new requirements put in place by the regulation. The Regulations now require employers to inspect the buildings in which their workers operate: in the case of buildings constructed before February 15, 1990, inspect the building to locate asbestos flocking and check the condition of the materials. Flocking is a mixture of friable materials applied by projection to cover a surface. For buildings constructed before May 20, 1999, inspect the building to locate asbestos insulation and check the condition of the materials. Insulation is an insulating material that covers an installation or equipment to prevent loss of heat. It is important to note that these inspection obligations apply to all employers, regardless of whether they are tenants or owners of the building where their workers are located. In the case where the employer is tenant of the building, it will have to agree with the owner on the responsibility of the cost of the inspections and if necessary, corrections required. However, the responsibility rests solely on the shoulders of the employer under the new regulations and not on the shoulders of the property owners.

In addition, it should be noted that the Regulation establishes a presumption of presence of asbestos in flocking and insulation, unless the employer proves otherwise. It is possible to rebut the presumption by providing documentary evidence (e.g., technical sheet establishing the composition of materials) or a sampling report made in accordance with the Regulations. The initial flocking and heat insulating inspection must be completed no later than June 6, 2015 and every two years thereafter. An exception to this inspection schedule is provided where asbestos-containing flocking and insulation are entirely enclosed in a permanent, fiber-tight structure and access to flocking and heat-insulation is only possible by a destructive operation of the work.

In addition to flocking and heat insulation, the Regulations also set out rules for all materials and products containing or likely to contain asbestos.

In the case where an employer plans to carry out work that is likely to emit dust, he must first check the presence of asbestos in the materials or products likely to contain it (eg gypsum ceiling, etc.) and, if they contain asbestos, take the necessary measures to protect workers. The Regulation also imposes an information obligation on workers who may be exposed to asbestos dust. Note that when the materials previously mentioned are in a condition likely to release dust containing asbestos fibers, repair work must be carried out immediately, in accordance with the provisions of the Safety Code for the works. of construction. Once the characterization is done by a professional, the owner will be able to determine if asbestos removal work is required prior to the planned work. Generally, the plaster is composed of two layers, the base layer called "cementitious plaster", greyish color, and the white topcoat. Usually, asbestos is in the base layer, but it can happen that intermediate and finishing layers also contain it. That's why it's important to take the samples deep to extract all the layers. It is also essential to sample on original plaster surfaces and avoid renovated areas that may skew the results. A representative characterization of a floor or a building likely to contain asbestos requires the respect of a procedure recognized by the provincial authorities. The sampling protocol drawn up by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and on which the Health and Safety at Work Commission (CSST) is based in Quebec is used to carry out the surveys. Asbestos in buildings. The outline of this procedure defines a minimum number of samples to be taken according to the surface area of the same homogeneous material encountered.

Demonstration. Flocking and heat insulation are presumed to contain asbestos, subject to a demonstration to the contrary by one of the following means:

  • verifiable documentary information, such as a data sheet or a material safety data sheet, which establishes the composition of flocking and heat insulating materials or the date of their installation;
  • A compliant sampling report containing the results of an analysis carried out on a sufficient number of representative samples to reveal the presence of asbestos on flocking and heat insulating in accordance with the article of the law.


Today, computer hardware is at the forefront of all our activities. It goes without saying that, for a vast majority of modern companies, a computer room in good condition is an indispensable, even vital, asset to the smooth running of business. Computers, servers, telecommunication closets, etc., must be particularly well maintained to avoid breakage or breakdowns that would hurt most businesses. For that, as IBM proposes, the cleanliness of the environment is one of the main factors to ensure the proper functioning of the computer equipment and its longevity. For example, due to its nature, a server room requires special attention, which far exceeds that given to traditional work environments.

In addition, it facilities are very sensitive to pollution, visible or invisible. In this sense, the builders recommend a rigorous and systematic maintenance of their equipment. In addition, in the event of a claim or incident, insurance companies only compensate their clients if they have complied with the manufacturer's standards for maintenance. Companies specialize in this field and offer several services such as:

  • Preventive maintenance of appliances
  • Dusting of the casing floor;
  • The evacuation of work residues (cables, rubble, etc.);
  • The flatness of the false floor;
  • Cleaning surfaces, etc.

But first and foremost, good air circulation is essential, unpolluted air, since it is the air that ensures the proper functioning of computer equipment by cooling computers, servers, cabinets containing computer equipment. etc. : overheating is one of the most important causes of power outages and blackouts.

Dust. Premises housing computer equipment should be cleaned daily and with special attention to avoid the accumulation of dust and too high levels of airborne particles. For example, to wash the floor, it is recommended to use a mop moistened with clear water, because the additives present in the cleaning products can damage the computer equipment. Raised floors require special maintenance, and annual cleaning of the plenum requires the expertise of specialized companies to keep the filters of the computer units intact and to ensure a satisfactory level of hygiene for the staff. In addition to the monitoring required by dust, there are also temperature and humidity levels which can also cause equipment breakdowns, such as those of other air pollutants that can cause rapid and very damaging corrosion of computer equipment.

Indeed, as stated in the Hewlett Packard preparation guide, air pollution and dust pose many dangers for electronic equipment: masking disk drive heads, short circuit components, tampering with contacts insufficient cooling, deterioration of moving mechanical parts, risk of deterioration of magnetic media, premature clogging of internal filters or air conditioning, etc. In addition, the dusts are of different types and do not react in the same way when they come into contact with the electronic components:

  • Fine or abrasive dusts;
  • Conductive dust;
  • Dry or insulating dust.

Fine dust causes abrasion of components, especially those of moving parts; and its accumulation on the housings promotes the retention of water and moisture. Conductive dust causes short circuits, while dry or insulating dust can interrupt current flow and increase contact resistance. Dry dust is characterized as a thermal insulator since it reduces heat dispersion and increases local temperature. This process can damage electrical circuits and even cause fires or explosions.

AIRTESTS evaluates air quality in all indoor environments, we can help you detect VOCs (volatile organic compounds), asbestos, bacteria, mold and dust that disturb occupants of places. By knowing the real state of the place, you will be better able to intervene to alleviate the problems related to the bad quality of the air, you will increase the feeling of well-being of your employees and the productivity of the in addition to reducing absenteeism