Development of a testing method for asbestos fibers in treated materials of asbestos containing wastes by transmission electron microscopy

Yamamoto, T.; Kida, A.; Noma, Y.; Terazono, A.; Sakai, S. (2014) Waste Management, 34(2): 536-541

Appropriate treatment of asbestos-containing wastes is a significant problem. In Japan, the inertization of asbestos-containing wastes based on new treatment processes approved by the Minister of the Environment
is promoted. A highly sensitive method for testing asbestos fibers in inertized materials is required so that these processes can be approved. We developed a method in which fibers from milled treated materials are extracted in water by shaking, and are counted and identified by transmission electron microscopy. Evaluation of this method by using asbestos standards and simulated slag samples confirmed that the quantitation limits are a few million fibers per gram and a few lg/g in a sample of 50 mg per filter. We used this method to assay asbestos fibers in slag samples produced by high-temperature melting of asbestos-containing wastes. Fiber concentrations were below the quantitation limit in all samples, and total fiber concentrations were determined as 47-170  106 f/g. Because the evaluation of treated materials by TEM is difficult owing to the limited amount of sample observable, this testing method should be used in conjunction with bulk analytical methods for sure evaluation of treated materials.


Asbestos; Asbestos-containing wastes; Transmission electron microscopy