Asbestos in Soils Scheme (AISS)
Samples will be Despatched
Proficiency Testing Scheme overview
The purpose of the Asbestos in Soils Scheme (AISS) is to assess
the proficiency of laboratories undertaking qualitative and
quantitative analysis of asbestos in soils (contaminated land). The
scheme is operated by HSE Testing and monitoring and is open to in
UK & Non-UK based soils laboratories. There are two
options available as follows:
- AISS Qualitative - identification of asbestos types
- AISS Quantitative - identification and quantification of
asbestos types present
Analytes in the scheme
All samples used in the scheme will be prepared at HSE Testing
and monitoring to ensure homogeneity. Samples may contain asbestos
present in fragments of commercial asbestos containing materials
(ACM's) or loose unbound fibres. Some samples may contain no
asbestos and/or a range of other non-asbestos fibres.
Who should participate?
There are a number of industry initiatives in this area and a
number of new guidance documents are under development from a range
of regulators and industry associations. This scheme is aimed
solely at analytical laboratories involved in the identification
and quantification of asbestos in contaminated land samples. In the
UK all laboratories undertaking the identification of asbestos in
soil and similar matrices must be accredited by the United Kingdom
Accreditation Service (UKAS) to ISO 17025. The arrangements in other countries
may be different. Any laboratory that is accredited to the ISO
17025 standard for this type of analysis is likely to be required
to participate in an appropriate PT Scheme by their national
What are the recommended methods?
There are no specific recommended methods for the analysis of
asbestos in soil. However, identification of asbestos should be
based on the PLM method described in Appendix 2 of HSG 248;
Asbestos; The analysts' guide for sampling, analysis and clearance
procedures. The method used for the quantification of asbestos
should be able to assess asbestos contained within ACM's and loose
unbound fibres. It should also be able to differentiate between
asbestos and non-asbestos fibres. The AISS handbook provides a
comprehensive overview of the operation of the scheme and can be
found under 'Useful Links'.
Operation of the scheme
There are three sample distributions or rounds per year, please
refer to the table below for details. Each Round will comprise two
samples representing a range of asbestos types and concentrations.
The samples are intended to be analysed once only and may be
retained by the laboratory after the analysis has been completed.
Participants will normally have approximately 20 working days to
analyse the samples and report the results. Upon submission of
results participants receive a brief Round Report and a Group
Summary Report. Initially participating laboratories will be given
feedback on their performance but will not be formally scored.
Performance criteria and a final classification will be produced as
the scheme develops.
The Proficiency Testing Team
The HSE Science and Research Centre
Tel: +44 (0) 203 028 3382
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