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In 1973, McCrone Research Institute taught a course called “Asbestos Identification Using Dispersion Staining” for the Environmental Protection Agency. This was the first asbestos identification course utilizing polarized light microscopy (PLM) and associated techniques taught in the United States (it was first taught at our facility in London in 1969). More than 582 classes and 7457 students later, that single course has grown into what is now a series of five PLM courses. Have we produced competent analysts? Have students' interests and capabilities changed over the years? Have the various accreditation programs and new regulations and standards affected what is taught in the classroom? Are we addressing the science and art of microscopy? This paper focuses on these questions, and on the answers that have been learned from both students in the classroom and practicing analysts at accredited laboratories.
polarized light microscopy (PLM), asbestos, microscopy education, McRI, NVLAP
Cooke, Peter M.
Principal, Consultation & Analysis (MICA), Chicago, IL