Detecting the problem of asbestos: Portable Analytical Solutions

Detecting the problem of asbestos: Portable Analytical Solutions

With the introduction of Portable Analytical Solutions’ microPHAZIR asbestos testing, Bingo Industries is meeting and exceeding its environmental and human health obligations.

In the wake of COVID-19, Federal, state and territory ministers have highlighted the construction industry as critical to economic recovery.

In April, for example, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told the ABC that the biggest construction boom in the state’s history would need to be even bigger.

He added that new projects and jobs would enable the state to bounce back strongly.

Similarly, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the Federal Government was powering ahead with vital infrastructure projects in an effort to maintain the country’s long-term economic health.

While infrastructure investment will likely aid post-COVID recovery, more construction and demolition projects have an unintended side-effect for the waste industry – asbestos.

Asbestos has been banned by most Australian states and territories since the late 1980s, however, bans did not include chrysotile asbestos (white asbestos), which remained in use until 2003.

It’s now an issue that affects one third of Australian houses, according to estimates from the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency.

Jim Sarkis of Bingo Industries says as a waste industry leader, Bingo is serious about the asbestos problem.

As such, the company has rolled out microPHAZIR testing at all its facilities across NSW and Victoria.

Acquired through Portable Analytical Solutions (PAS), Bingo’s Thermo Scientific microPHAZIR AS’ empower non-experts to perform safe testing for immediate feedback.

In addition to allowing operators to exercise a duty of care for workers, the public and environment, the devices help avoid costly and unnecessary shutdowns and subsequent business interruption.

“One of the reasons we acquired the microPHAZIR’s is that we see ourselves as an industry leader and want to be raising and acceding that benchmark constantly,” Sarkis says.

PAS’ microPHAZIR facilitates rapid identification of six types of regulated asbestos fibres – chrysotile, crocidolite, anthophyllite, tremolite, actinolite and amosite.

Using the power of near-infrared spectroscopy to perform accurate on-site analysis, the unit is completely self-contained.

Weighing 1.2 kilograms, the microPHAZIR AS is highly portable and very simple to operate.

With a testing time of approximately seven seconds, the microPHAZIR AS is able to display whether asbestos is present and which type of asbestos it is.

Prior to purchasing the microPHAZIR’s, Sarkis says Bingo relied on industry knowledge acquired by staff to identify materials potentially containing asbestos.

Following the introduction of the devices, however, Bingo’s ability to accurately identify and isolate asbestos containing material has significantly increased.

The microPHAZIR’s portability facilitates field-based testing, thereby reducing the need to rely on out-sourced laboratory testing.

“Laboratory testing can be costly and slow, which is a challenge as our recycling centres are fast moving. The immediacy of the microPHAZIR is one of its biggest benefits,” Sarkis says.

“The microPHAZIR fitted seamlessly into our process.

“We have it close to our receiving areas, and if there is material we suspect to contain asbestos, the team can test the sample and receive confirmation in seconds.”

The initial implementation of the microPHAZIR was quick, Sarkis says.

He adds that Bingo and PAS ran training courses with the team and had onsite testing up and running within a day of receiving the devices.

Paul Martin, PAS Managing Director, says PAS is proud to work with Bingo to support their efforts in detecting and protecting the public from asbestos.

“The microPHAZIR AS is a perfect tool for detecting asbestos used in building products with great reliability,” he says.

“With the growing use of the microPHAZIR across the waste industry in Australia, by both public and private waste facilities, we are glad that more asbestos is being detected before putting peoples heathy at risk.”

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