Standard Active Last Updated: Jul 12, 2019
ASTM D6480-19

Standard Test Method for Wipe Sampling of Surfaces, Indirect Preparation, and Analysis for Asbestos Structure Number Surface Loading by Transmission Electron Microscopy

Standard Test Method for Wipe Sampling of Surfaces, Indirect Preparation, and Analysis for Asbestos Structure Number Surface Loading by Transmission Electron Microscopy
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Significance and Use

5.1 This wipe sampling and indirect analysis test method is used for the general testing of surfaces for asbestos. It is used to assist in the evaluation of surfaces in buildings, such as ceiling tiles, shelving, electrical components, duct work, and so forth. This test method provides an index of the concentration of asbestos structures per unit area sampled as derived from a quantitative measure of the number of asbestos structures detected during analysis.

5.1.1 This test method does not describe procedures or techniques required for the evaluation of the safety or habitability of buildings with asbestos-containing materials, or compliance with federal, state, or local regulations or statutes. It is the user's responsibility to make these determinations.

5.1.2 At present, a single direct relationship between asbestos sampled from a surface and potential human exposure does not exist. Accordingly, the user should consider these data in relationship to other available information (for example, air sampling data) in their evaluation.

5.2 One or more large asbestos-containing particles dispersed during sample preparation may result in large asbestos surface loading results in the TEM analyses of that sample. It is, therefore, recommended that multiple replicate independent samples be secured in the same area, and that a minimum of three such samples be analyzed by the entire procedure.


1.1 This test method covers a procedure to identify asbestos in samples wiped from surfaces and to provide an estimate of the concentration of asbestos reported as the number of asbestos structures per unit area of sampled surface. The procedure outlined in this test method employs an indirect sample preparation technique. It is intended to disperse aggregated asbestos into fundamental fibrils, fiber bundles, clusters, or matrices. However, as with all indirect sample preparation techniques, the asbestos observed for quantification may not represent the physical form of the asbestos as sampled. More specifically, the procedure described neither creates nor destroys asbestos, but it may alter the physical form of the mineral fiber aggregates.

1.2 This test method describes the equipment and procedures necessary for wipe sampling of surfaces for levels of asbestos structures. The sample is collected onto a particle-free wipe material (wipe) from the surface of a sampling area that may contain asbestos.

1.2.1 The collection efficiency of this wipe sampling technique is unknown and will vary among substrates. Properties influencing collection efficiency include surface texture, adhesiveness, and other factors.

1.2.2 This test method is generally applicable for an estimate of the surface loading of asbestos structures starting from approximately 1000 asbestos structures per square centimetre.

1.3 Asbestos identification by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is based on morphology, electron diffraction (ED), and energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDXA).

1.4 This test method allows determination of the type(s) of asbestos fibers present.

1.4.1 This test method cannot always discriminate between individual fibers of the asbestos and nonasbestos analogues of the same amphibole mineral.

1.4.2 There is no lower limit to the dimensions of asbestos fibers that can be detected. However, in practice, the lower limit to the dimensions of asbestos fibers, that can be detected, is variable and dependent on individual microscopists. Therefore, a minimum length of 0.5 μm has been defined as the shortest fiber to be incorporated in the reported results.

1.5 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard.

1.6 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, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.7 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 11.07
Developed by Subcommittee: D22.07
Pages: 16
DOI: 10.1520/D6480-19
ICS Code: 13.300