Step by Step Guide

Collect the Samples

Note: You cannot be sure that a material contains asbestos by just looking at it with a naked eye. Therefore, treat all suspect materials as if they contain asbestos.

  • Shut down any heating or cooling systems to minimize the spread of any released fibers.
  • Do not disturb the material any more than is needed to take a small sample.
  • Wet the material using a fine mist of water before taking the sample. The water mist will reduce the possibility of releasing asbestos fibers.
  • Carefully cut or scrape a piece from the entire depth of the material using, for example, a small knife, corer, or other sharp object.
  • Cut or scrape only a small piece of the material. All materials can be grouped into two categories: friable, which can be crushed into powder by hand (for example, acoustic ceiling sprays), and nonfriable (for example, floor tiles, siding). These amounts are adequate for testing:

    • For friable samples - 1 teaspoon
    • For nonfriable samples - 1 square inch piece
  • Place the small piece into a clean container, preferably, a ZipLock bag. Tightly seal the container after the sample is in it. For ZipLock bags, just use the zip seal itself. Do not use tapes.
  • Use a damp paper towel to clean up any material on the outside of the container or around the area sampled.
  • Label the container with an ID number (for example, Sample #1). In addition, it's a good idea to write your name on the bag as well.
  • Special Notes

  • For acoustic ceiling sprays covering more than 1,000 square feet, taking three samples from different locations is strongly recommended.
  • Vermiculite samples need to be much larger, from half-cup to full cup size. It is important to scoop up the vermiculite from the floor, so that the sample includes the heavier particles as well.
  • Do NOT send dust or soil/dirt samples. Dust samples require analysis by Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) which we currently do not provide.
  • It is not necessary to separate multi-layered samples from each other. If you are not testing every layer, just indicate which layer you would like to test.

Complete the Submittal Form

  • Fill out the Submittal Form. There is also a printable version, if your prefer. Alternatively, write down the information on a piece of paper.
  • If possible, provide an email address. Our preferred way of sending reports is by email. You can instruct us of additional ways of contacting you or sending you the report in the Comments box.

    About Layers

  • Distinct layers of materials are considered separate samples. Most common ones are flooring samples, such as floor tiles and their adhesives, multiple layers of floor tiles and linoleums, or multiple layers of roofing.
  • You should not count as separate samples layers in drywall/texture, or plaster/finish coat, or painted ceiling tiles, or a single layer of linoleum (vinyl top plus backing).
  • Indicate the number of layers on the form. If you are including a layered sample and only want one analyzed, indicate which layer. For example, if you are sending a floor tile with an adhesive and only want the adhesive tested, write adhesive in the sample description.
  • Our testing fees are:

    • $30 for the 1st sample
    • $20 for each additional sample
  • Submit the form online or send the printable one along with your samples.

Ship your samples

  • Prepare your package. Make sure the sample bags are closed tight. Please to do not use additional tape to seal them. If you are not sure about the zip-lock seal or if the bags are wet, it is a good idea to double bag them. If you used the printed form or are paying with a check/money order, put those in the package as well. Do not put the form or the payment in a pouch outside the package.
  • Write your name clearly on the packaging. This is most important if the package includes only the samples. We will use your name to retrieve your form and verify your payment.
  • You can ship yor samples using any shipping service. If you are in a hurry for results, use next day UPS or FedEx.
  • DO NOT declare the contents of your package as hazardous. That will only delay your shipment. If you are asked about the contents, tell the carrier that you are sending materials from your home for testing.
  • If you are using USPS, please make sure you put enough postage on the package. Even if you are sending your samples in a regular business envelope, a single 1st class stamp will most likely be insufficient. It is a good idea to have the postage calculated at the Post Office. Insufficient postage is the most common reason that packages are delayed.
  • Ship your samples to our address below. If your shipper doesn't recognize Arleta, use Pacoima instead.
Western Analytical Lab
12734 Branford St, #19
Arleta, CA 91331

Get the results

  • When the samples arrive at the Laboratory, we verify that the payment is included or has been submitted online and begin the testing process. A personal check does not delay the testing.
  • You should receive the results by email within 24 hours, most likely the same day. The email will be from westernanalytical with the subject line "Asbestos test report".
  • If the payment has not been received by us, we put the samples on hold and contact you by email for payment.