Abingdon Air Quality Test Results

escMr. John Chadwick
Assistant Superintendent, Facilities and Operations
Arlington Public Schools
2770 South Taylor Street
Arlington, Virginia 22206

Reference: Abingdon Elementary School,
3035 S. Abingdon Street,
Arlington, Virginia

Dear Mr. Chadwick:
Following a breach of asbestos protocols by a subcontractor at Abingdon Elementary School on Tuesday,January 24, 2017, APS authorized immediate testing by ECS, a licensed environmental testing vendor, to ensure that the school would be safe for occupancy.

While awaiting the outcome of the test results, APS closed Abingdon Elementary on Wednesday, January 25, 2017. Abingdon shall remain closed until acceptable test results are received and validated. Testing was performed in the contained area where the breach occurred and in adjacent corridors and spaces to identify whether any suspect asbestos-containing material was carried into other parts of the school on shoes or by air movement.

The initial samples collected were PCM (Phase Contrast Microscopy) air tests which measure the level of fibers in the air. These samples can be analyzed quickly to identify airborne hazards. Air samples were also collected for TEM (Transmission Electron Microscopy) analysis. These samples can  positively identify asbestos fibers (referred to as “structures”) and are more sensitive than PCM, but take longer to analyze. Samples of dust from the floor were also collected for analysis by PLM (Polarized Light Microscopy) to check for tracking of asbestos material beyond the immediate area of disturbance.

APS also informed OSHA of the breach, and they will be conducting appropriate investigations into the breach and reporting back their findings to APS and other stakeholders. Summaries of the test results are attached. Below is a brief explanation of the test results. Both the EPA and Commonwealth of Virginia have the same requirements for acceptable sample results in occupied schools.

  • For PCM air samples, results must be less than 0.01 fibers per cubic centimeter (f/cc). The initial PCM sample results ranged from 0.002 to 0.005, below the 0.01 threshold.
  • For TEM analysis, concentrations must be less than 70 structures per square millimeter (s/mm2). The results of all sixteen (16) air samples were less than 15 s/mm2 and there were no asbestos types were detected.
  • The dust samples analyzed by PLM found no asbestos in the dust in areas of the school wheres tudents have access. This shows that asbestos was not carried on shoes to other parts of the school. Specially trained and licensed asbestos contractors are cleaning the isolated construction areas before anyone is allowed back into the school, to prevent any tracking in the future.

The collected sample results do not identify an asbestos hazard that would make Abingdon Elementary School unsafe for occupancy. Based on these results, APS will reopen the school Thursday, January 26, 2017.

Diana D. Krass
Senior Industrial Hygiene Manager

Stephen R. Geraci
Environmental Regional Manager


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