Standard Article

Asbestos Analysis

Environment: Water and Waste

  1. Norbert Höfert1,
  2. Reiner König2

Published Online: 9 JAN 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0804.pub2

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Höfert, N. and König, R. 2014. Asbestos Analysis. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. 1–15.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Commission on Air Pollution Prevention of VDI and DIN, Düsseldorf, Germany

  2. 2

    APC Analytische Produktions-, Steuerungs- und Controllgeräte GmbH, Eschborn, Germany

  1. Update based on the original article by Norbert Höfert and Reiner König, Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry, © 2000, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 9 JAN 2014


The comprehensive use of asbestos in approximately 3000 industrial applications in the past requires asbestos analysis at present and in the future. The different analysis methods range from simple and cost-effective procedures in order to decide whether asbestos is present up to the expensive and time-consuming determination of low fiber number concentrations of asbestos fibers, including the identification of the fiber type using highly sophisticated measurement equipment. The following survey discusses the most relevant objectives of asbestos analysis and the measurement techniques that are applied:

  • Ambient/indoor air measurements – low concentration range, fiber type usually not known, identification required – using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) in combination with energy-dispersive X-ray analysis (EDXA) and selected area electron diffraction (SAED) and using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in combination with EDXA.
  • Workplace air measurements – low to high concentration range, fiber type usually known, identification possibly required – using SEM, TEM, and phase contrast optical microscopy (PCOM).
  • Stationary source emission measurements using SEM, TEM, and PCOM.
  • Bulk material analysis – usually qualitative and/or indicative measurements – using SEM, TEM, infrared (IR) spectroscopy, PCOM, polarized light microscopy (PLM), and X-ray diffraction (XRD).
  • Surface dust analysis – usually indoor measurements; qualitative and/or indicative measurements – using SEM
  • Water analysis using TEM.