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Asbestos Sampling Guide


Safety First


When taking samples of potentially asbestos-containing bulk materials, there are certain precautions that can be taken to avoid unnecessary exposure to asbestos fibres. The following sampling instructions are in accordance with the EPA recommended procedure for safe handling of potentially hazardous bulk samples.

  • Materials should be sampled when areas are not in use whenever possible.
  • If available, use a dust mask or NIOSH approved respirator. If not available, avoid creating and inhaling dust. You may want to wet the material to be sampled with water from a spray bottle to help reduce dust formation.
  • Use a clean and dry Ziploc bag to hold each sample.
  • All materials must be sampled in triplicate (regulatory requirement)


Sample Size: Each sample should be approximately one square inch. Usually plaster was installed in two layers: scratch-coat and the finish coat. Ensure that you sample both layers.

Helpful Hints: Using a Ziploc bag bag and a small clean knife, cut or break out small pieces of material. Be sure to penetrate any paint, protective coating or glue to sample all layers of the material to the substrate.



Sample Size: Each sample should be approximately two square inches.

Helpful hints: Using a Ziploc bag and a small clean knife, cut out small pieces of material. Be sure to penetrate any paint, protective coating or glue to sample all layers of the material. Usually it is drywall joint compound that contained asbestos.  Obtain samples from locations where damage is not an issue.


Tiles (Floor or Ceiling)

Sample Size: Each sample should be approximately one square inch.

Helpful hints: For all tiles in addition to the tile itself, try to collect mastic (usually black or beige) if it was used to adhere the tiles. If you can scrape more from the work area, include in the Ziploc bag with the tile sample.


Popcorn Ceiling

Sample Size: Each sample should be approximately two tablespoons of scrapings.

Helpful hints: Scrape the material onto a sheet of paper being held under the area being sampled. Empty the sampled materials into a Ziploc bag.



Sample Size: Each sample should be at least one cup of material.

Helpful hints: A flat bottomed scoop or scraper should be used to sample the bottom half inch of the material.  The minimum of three samples should be taken in three different locations of the attic or wall(s) where the vermiculite was installed.

Additionally, when taking vermiculite samples, the EPA and Health Canada recommend wearing a respirator and not remaining in the area longer than necessary. A NIOSH approved half-face P100 respirator can be purchased at hardware stores or from safety suppliers.


How do I submit my samples?


Once a sample is collected, tightly close the bag and wipe the outside with a damp cloth to remove any dust.


Label each sample bag identifying:

  • structure (building, etc).
  • sampling date
  • specific location of the sample in the room or structure

Fill out a Chain of Custody form and submit either at our Guelph office, in the afterhours dropbox outside our office, or by mail.


Once payment has been arranged, your results will be emailed to you based on the Turnaround Time (TAT) that you choose.


How do I fill out the Chain of Custody form?


Below are guidelines on what information is required on the Chain of Custody form:

  • Contact Name
  • Company (homeowners can leave this blank)
  • Address (your address, if different from where the samples are being collected from)
  • Home or cellphone number
  • Email (this is how we will send you your results)
  • Sampling Date (the day the samples were taken)
  • Project Name (this can be the address where the samples are being collected from, the room, or any description that assists you ie. ‘Bathroom Reno’ or ‘123 Science St’)
  • Turn Around Time (how soon you would like your results. We can provide pricing options by phone or email)
  • Sample ID (number to match samples to descriptions)
  • Client Sample Description (example: ‘Floor Tile in West Corner of Kitchen’ or ‘Drywall in Bedroom’ or ‘Popcorn Ceiling in Living Room’)
  • Layers (if you are unsure if your samples have layers or which ones to have analyzed, we can assist you once we have seen the samples)
  • Initial Disclaimers at the bottom
  • Sign and Date