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Asbestos and MMVFs

Asbestos chemical analysis- White Lab

With White Lab Laboratories, you can carry out any accredited census, sampling and testing activity set by applicable regulations on asbestos and Man-Made Vitreous Fibres (MMVFs) both for the private and public sector.

White Lab Laboratories are included in the list of laboratories meeting minimum requirements and therefore qualified to test asbestos by the Ministry of Health.

Asbestos is a fibrous material consisting of natural mineral fibres belonging to the silicate and the mineralogical series of serpentine (chrysotile or white asbestos) and amphibole (crocidolite or blue asbestos).

Asbestos was widely used particularly as an insulator or insulating material and, secondarily, as a reinforcing and supporting material for other synthetic products (protective equipment and heat-resistant suits).

Its use is currently prohibited by law, but the release of asbestos fibres from pre-existing structural elements inside buildings can occur through slow deterioration of the materials containing it or through direct damage to them by occupants or maintenance work.

Asbestos is usually found in a compact form, embedded in a cement matrix (asbestos-cement in roofing, flues, etc.) or in other matrices (linoleum flooring, walls, panels, etc.), but it is also possible to find it in a more dangerous friable form when used as soundproofing or insulation in false ceilings and/or walls.

The release of asbestos fibres inside buildings, where it is present, can occur due to slow deterioration of the constituent materials (insulators or insulating materials), direct damage to them by occupants or inappropriate maintenance.

The presence of asbestos fibres in the environment inevitably causes damage to health, even in the presence of few fibrous elements.

Once inhaled, the fibres can settle in the airways and lung cells. Fibres deposited in the deepest parts of the lung can remain there for several years, even a lifetime, and can lead to the onset of diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.

Italian law No 257 of 1992 banned its production and sale, defined the procedures to shut down any asbestos extraction and processing activity, and set out benefits for the workers exposed to asbestos.

Following the ban on asbestos, the use of man-made vitreous fibres (MMVFs) has increased: amorphous inorganic fibres that are chemically and physically stable, resistant to environmental conditions and microorganisms, non-flammable, with dielectric and thermal and acoustic insulation properties.

The criteria for classifying MMVFs as 'carcinogenic' take into account the alkaline and alkaline-earth oxide content, the length-weighted geometric mean diameter and the biopersistence of the fibre.

According to the principles laid down in Annex VI of EC Regulation No 1272/2008 (CLP), MMVFs are classified into: mineral wools (with alkaline and alkaline-earth oxide content greater than 18% by weight) and refractory ceramic fibres (with alkaline and alkaline-earth oxide content less than 18% by weight). Fibres are exempt from carcinogenicity classification if they have a length-weighted geometric mean diameter minus two geometric standard errors (DLG-2ES) greater than 6 μm (Note R). In addition, the classification as a ‘carcinogen’ does not apply for those fibres for which it can be demonstrated that they have low biopersistence (Note Q).

EU Directive 2017/2398 of the European Parliament and of the Council, amending Directive 2004/37/EC on the protection of workers exposed to carcinogens and mutagens, defines the new limit value for RCFs (Refractory Ceramic Fibres) as 0.3 f/ cm3.

A highly-trained team that is always up to date and state-of-the-art technologies allow to support customers with integrated consultancy, census, sampling, testing services of asbestos and Man-Made Vitreous Fibres (MMVFs).

Services and more information on asbestos and MMVFs

Reference matrices
  • Air
  • Water
  • Soils
  • Excavated soils and rocks
  • Natural stone
  • Refractory materials
  • Building materials
  • Railway ballast
  • Construction and demolition waste
  • Solid waste
  • Liquid waste
Methods set in Italian Ministerial Decree of 14 May 1996
  • PCOM - Phase-Contrast Optical Microscopy
  • PLOM - Polarized Light Optical Microscopy
  • SEM/EDS - Scanning Electron Microscopy with Microanalysis
  •  FTIR - Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy
  • XRD - X-ray diffraction
Services related to MMVFs
  • Research and quantification of asbestos fibres in materials, soils and waste (with recognition of the mineralogical species) by scanning electron microscopy (SEM-EDS), infrared spectrometry (FTIR) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) in compliance with Italian Ministerial Decree of 06/09/1994 - Annex 1

  • Research and quantification of asbestos fibres in air by scanning electron microscopy (SEM-EDS) and phase-contrast optical microscopy (PCOM) in compliance with Italian Ministerial Decree of 06/09/1994 - Annex 2

  • Research and quantification of asbestos fibres in water by scanning electron microscopy (SEM-EDS), with ISS.EAA.000 method of the Italian National Health Institute (Istituto Superiore Sanità)

  • Classification of Man-Made Vitreous Fibres (MMVFs) in accordance with the Italian Ministry of Health Guidelines, with indication of hazard class

  • Research and quantification of Mineral Wools (MWs) and Refractory Ceramic Fibres (RCFs) in materials, soils and waste, by scanning electron microscopy (SEM-EDS)

  • Research and quantification of Refractory Ceramic Fibres (RCFs) in air, using scanning electron microscopy (SEM-EDS)

  • Survey and mapping of asbestos in accordance with UNI 11870 'Materials containing asbestos. Criteria and methods for the identification and census in building structures, machinery and installations

  • Evaluation of the state of preservation of asbestos-cement roofs and risk assessment

  • Control and coordination of maintenance activities manager for materials containing asbestos and drafting of maintenance and control plans in compliance with Italian Ministerial Decree of 06/09/1994
More reference regulations
  • Italian Ministerial Decree of 06/09/1994: Rules and technical procedures for risk assessment, control, maintenance and removal of materials containing asbestos in buildings
  • Italian Ministerial Decree of 14/05/1996: Rules and technical procedures for remediation operations, including the activities to make asbestos harmless
  • Italian Ministerial Decree of 20/08/1999: Extension of the rules and technical procedures for remediation operations, including the activities to make asbestos harmless

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