ASTM D7521 - 13

    Standard Test Method for Determination of Asbestos in Soil

    Active Standard ASTM D7521 | Developed by Subcommittee: D22.07

    Book of Standards Volume: 11.07


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    Significance and Use

    5.1 This analysis method is used for the testing of soil samples for asbestos. The emphasis is on detection and analysis of sieved particles for asbestos in the soil. Debris identifiable as bulk building material that is readily separable from the soil is to be analyzed and reported separately.

    5.2 The coarse fraction of the sample (>2 to <19 mm) may contain large pieces of asbestos-containing material that may release fibers and break down during the sieving process into smaller pieces that pass through the 2-mm sieve into the medium fraction. If this alteration of the original sample is not desired by the investigator, these pieces should be removed from the sample before sieving and returned to the coarse fraction before analysis.

    5.3 This test method does not describe procedures or techniques required to evaluate the safety or habitability of buildings or outdoor areas potentially contaminated with asbestos-containing materials or compliance with federal, state, or local regulations or statutes. It is the investigator's responsibility to make these determinations.

    5.4 Whereas this test method produces results that may be used for evaluation of sites contaminated by construction, mine, and manufacturing wastes; deposits of natural occurrences of asbestos; and other sources of interest to the investigator, the application of the results to such evaluations and the conclusions drawn there from, including any assessment of risk or liability, is beyond the scope of this test method and is the responsibility of the investigator.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers a procedure to: (1) identify asbestos in soil, (2) provide an estimate of the concentration of asbestos in the sampled soil (dried), and (3) optionally to provide a concentration of asbestos reported as the number of asbestos structures per gram of sample.

    1.2 In this test method, results are produced that may be used for evaluation of sites contaminated by construction, mine and manufacturing wastes, deposits of natural occurrences of asbestos (NOA), and other sources of interest to the investigator.

    1.3 This test method describes the gravimetric, sieve, and other laboratory procedures for preparing the soil for analysis as well as the identification and quantification of any asbestos detected. Pieces of collected soil and material embedded therein that pass through a 19-mm sieve will become part of the sample that is analyzed and for which results are reported.

    1.3.1 Asbestos is identified and quantified by polarized light microscopy (PLM) techniques including analysis of morphology and optical properties. Optional transmission electron microscopy (TEM) identification and quantification of asbestos is based on morphology, selected area electron diffraction (SAED), and energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDXA). Some information about fiber size may also be determined. The PLM and TEM methods use different definitions and size criteria for fibers and structures. Separate data sets may be produced.

    1.4 This test method has an analytical sensitivity of 0.25 % by weight with optional procedures to allow for an analytical sensitivity of 0.1 % by weight.

    1.5 This test method does not purport to address sampling strategies or variables associated with soil environments. Such considerations are the responsibility of the investigator collecting and submitting the sample. Appendix X2 covering elements of soil sampling and good field practices is attached.

    1.6 Units—The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. Other units may be cited in the method for informational purposes only.

    1.7 Hazards—Asbestos fibers are acknowledged carcinogens. Breathing asbestos fibers can result in disease of the lungs including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Precautions should be taken to avoid creating and breathing airborne asbestos particles when sampling and analyzing materials suspected of containing asbestos.

    1.8 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    C136 Test Method for Sieve Analysis of Fine and Coarse Aggregates

    D1193 Specification for Reagent Water

    D3670 Guide for Determination of Precision and Bias of Methods of Committee D22

    D6281 Test Method for Airborne Asbestos Concentration in Ambient and Indoor Atmospheres as Determined by Transmission Electron Microscopy Direct Transfer (TEM)

    D6620 Practice for Asbestos Detection Limit Based on Counts

    E11 Specification for Woven Wire Test Sieve Cloth and Test Sieves

    EPA Standards

    EPA600/R-93/116 Method for the Determination of Asbestos in Bulk Building Materials Available from United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ariel Rios Bldg., 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20004, http://www.epa.gov.

    ISO Standards

    ISO/DIS22262-1 Bulk materials--Part 1: Sampling and qualitative determination of asbestos in commercial bulk materials


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.080.05 (Examination of soil in general)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 11111501(Soil)


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/D7521-13

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM D7521-13, Standard Test Method for Determination of Asbestos in Soil, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2013, www.astm.org

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