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How to Collect a Sample for Asbestos Testing

Collecting Asbestos Bulk Samples for Testing

In this article, we'll go over how you take samples of suspect asbestos containing materials for laboratory testing. Feel free to print this guide for your use.

**Collecting asbestos samples should only be completed by those trained in asbestos awareness and bulk sample collection. If you haven’t been trained in locating and identifying suspect asbestos containing materials, you should contact your local asbestos testing service. We offer this service in the Winnipeg, MB Canada area.

Instructions for Collecting an Asbestos Sample

Step 1: Preparation

To complete the sample collection, you’ll need the following:

Tools you’ll need:

An exacto knife

Flat Pry bar

Ziploc Bags

Permanent marker

Stickers with identifying numbers (tape works too)

Spray bottle containing water

Camera (phone camera will do)

Ladder for higher locations or attics

PPE You’ll need:

Tyvek suit

Half/full face Respirator with P100 filters

Safety glasses

Latex or work gloves

Proper footwear

Step 2: Taking the Sample

1. Spray the sample area surface to keep the area damp, this will help minimize airborne fibers

2. Carefully cut/scrape off a piece of the material you’re sampling using an exacto knife and flat pry bar. Ensure you take a sample that’s the entire thickness of the material.

Ex: for drywall compound, a sample from a wall corner is appropriate, we need a sample taken through the paint, tape and compound. For attic vermiculite, dig to the bottom and collect the debris/dust with some vermiculite as the asbestos fibers can settle at the bottom.

Ensure you take the required sample size. For solid materials, ensure you’re taking at least a sample of about 1.5 x 1.5 inches. For loose materials, collect approximately 2 tablespoons of material

**Please note, more than 1 sample is typically required from each material. The province of Manitoba recommends that for items that were mixed on site (ceiling stipple, plaster, drywall joint compound, stucco, etc.) asbestos may not be spread uniformly throughout the materials, as such, 3 samples should be take and submitted. Other materials may require more than one sample as well.

Step 3: Containing and Preparing the Sample

1. Place the sample into a clean Ziploc bag, tightly seal the bag, then seal the top opening again with tape

2. Wipe down the bag exterior with a clean rag and water to remove any dust/fibers

3. Using a permanent marker, label the sample bag with:

Your Name

Your Phone Number

Sample ID – Include the location (Ex: Laundry Room Floor Tile – S10021 - 1)

4. Take a piece of tape or an ID sticker, write the sample ID on it and tape it directly beside the location the sample was collected from

5. Take a picture of the location the sample was collected from with the tape/sample ID visible

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at 1-833-367-7354 or by email at


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