Proficiency Testing Australia
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Proficiency Testing Australia is proud of their suite of Asbestos Proficiency Testing Programs, which offer analysts the opportunity to demonstrate the accuracy and reliability of their results in a vitally important area of testing. 

The National Asbestos Program (NAP), which monitors fibre-counting proficiency (relating to the estimation of airborne asbestos), is one of PTA’s longest running programs, having commenced close to 30 years ago. Additionally, PTA offers two further programs in the area of Asbestos Identification, namely the Asbestos Identification (Building & Related Products) and the Asbestos in Soils Programs.

Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral occurring in rock, sediment or soil. It has strong fibres that are heat resistant and have good insulating properties. It is these useful properties that made asbestos a popular choice in the manufacture of many products, including cement sheeting (fibro), drainage and flue pipes, roofing, guttering and flexible building boards, brakes, clutches and gaskets.  In the 1960's and 70's loose fibre asbestos was used in some parts of NSW as home roof insulation.

Soil may also become contaminated with asbestos, either via “bonded asbestos” present commonly in landfill, or “friable asbestos” fibres originating from the deterioration of asbestos containing materials, such as asbestos cement roofing, with fibres being washed into the surrounding soil.

Unfortunately, asbestos is now recognised as a major health hazard. When asbestos fibres are breathed in, they may remain deep within the lungs. They can lodge in lung tissue and cause inflammation, scarring and some more serious asbestos-related diseases, such as Pleural plaques; Asbestosis; Lung cancer; and Mesothelioma. Those who suffer health problems from inhaling asbestos have usually been exposed to high levels of asbestos for a long time. Symptoms don’t usually appear until 20 to 30 years after initial exposure.

Despite a total ban on asbestos, which came into effect in Australia on 31 December 2003, making it is illegal to make it, use it or import it from another country, asbestos is certain to remain in the public eye for years to come.   A parliamentary inquiry into the “effects of non-conforming building products on the Australian building and construction industry” was referred by the Senate in 2015, and was extended earlier this year to include an investigation into the illegal importation of products containing asbestos, with the final report due later this month.

Given the potentially serious consequences of an incorrect analysis in asbestos-related testing, the comprehensive range of asbestos proficiency testing programs offered by PTA provide an essential service in providing external quality assurance for counters and identifiers, and serve to improve the overall standard of work carried out in this area.

For enquires relating to participation in the NAP (fibre-counting), Asbestos Identification (Building & Related Products) or Asbestos in Soils, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.