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Asbestos

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that occurs naturally in rock and soil. Due to its durability, and resistance to heat and chemicals, asbestos has been used in a variety of building materials, fabrics, automotive parts, packaging, gaskets, and coatings. J3 Resources, Inc. is accredited by ISO 17025:2005, the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP), the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and various other applicable Federal, State and Local programs, guidelines, and regulations for the analysis of mediums including air, building materials, water, dust, soil and rock, vermiculite, biological tissues by PLM, PCM, TEM, and XRD. J3 uses the best available scientific equipment including two JEOL 1200-EX Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEMs) and a PANalytical Cubix3 X-Ray Diffractometer (XRD) to produce the most accurate results, and can provide rapid, after-hours, and weekend turnarounds to meet our clients’ needs.

ASBESTOS IN BUILDING MATERIALS
POLARIZED LIGHT MICROSCOPY (PLM) METHODS
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PLM – EPA 600/R-93/116 – Visual Estimation (VE) (1% LOD)
This Polarized Light Microscopy method is the “industry standard” for the determination of asbestos concentration in almost any building material. In addition to analysis by PLM with Visual Estimation, other techniques such as Point Counting, Gravimetric Reduction, TEM, and SEM are contained in this method and described below. These alternative analytical techniques are included to improve accuracy and precision of difficult or low concentration samples. The PLM method outlines two quantification techniques. The first and simplest is the visual estimate of percent area. A second and more precise quantification technique employs point counting. The method is not applicable to samples containing large amounts of fine fibers below the resolution of the light microscope (see TEM). [_/su_spoiler]
PLM – EPA 600/R-93/116 – 400 Point Count (0.25% LOD)
Although Point Counting is more labor intensive, it is less likely to be influenced by bias than visual estimation of percent area. This can be especially important at low asbestos concentrations. Both accuracy and precision are improved with Point Counting, increasing the number of points analyzed increases accuracy and precision. The 400 point count complies with NESHAP regulations which require that point counting be performed for better precision and accuracy on samples with asbestos concentrations less than 10%. Point Counts cannot be conduct on Non-friable Organically Bound (NOB) samples such as floor tile and mastic (see Point Count after Gravimetric Reduction).[_/su_spoiler]
PLM – EPA 600/R-93/116 – 1,000 Point Count (0.1% LOD)
The 1,000 Point Count has all the same features as the 400 Point Count but with increased accuracy and precision. The 1,000 point count is typically utilized in California, where the permissible limit for determining if a material is Asbestos Containing is 0.1% asbestos. Point Counts cannot be conduct on Non-friable Organically Bound samples (NOB) samples such as floor tile and mastic (see Point Count after Gravimetric Reduction).[_/su_spoiler]
PLM – EPA 600/R-93/116 – VE with Gravimetric Reduction (< 1% LOD)
Building Materials containing either dense matrices like floor tiles and mastics (NOBs), or very low concentrations of asbestos are considered in EPA 600/R-93/116 as Problem Samples. Asbestos fibers are tightly bound to the matrix material and not easily isolated and detected by light microscopy, often resulting in a false negative result. An increasing number of states are recognizing the inherent problems with these types of samples. The State of New York has mandated special preparation procedures be performed prior to analysis of NOBs by PLM. These procedures (NOB Preparation) include gravimetric reduction by ashing the samples several hours in a muffle furnace at high temperatures followed by dissolution of the remaining residue with Hydrochloric Acid. The final residue is then analyzed by PLM with Visual Estimation for the presence of asbestos. The method is not applicable to samples containing large amounts of fine fibers below the resolution of the light microscope (see TEM). [_/su_spoiler]
PLM – EPA 600/R-93/116 – 400 Point Count after Gravimetric Reduction
Gravimetric Reduction converts Non-friable Organically Bound (NOB) samples to friable samples that can be Point Counted. Gravimetric Reduction allows a point count analysis of samples like floor tiles, mastics and roof cores. A 400 Point Count after Gravimetric Reduction gives a Limit of Detection of < 0.25 percent.[_/su_spoiler]
PLM – EPA 600/R-93/116 – 1,000 Point Count after Gravimetric Reduction
Gravimetric Reduction converts Non-friable Organically Bound (NOB) samples to friable samples that can be Point Counted. Gravimetric Reduction allows a point count analysis of samples like floor tiles, mastics and roof cores. A 1,000 Point Count after Gravimetric Reduction gives a Limit of Detection of < 0.1 percent.[_/su_spoiler]
PLM – EPA 600/R-93/116 – Matrix Reduction (Qualitative)
Matrix Reduction mimics procedures of Gravimetric Reduction without documentation of mass. Useful for situations where the binding matrix is impeding the qualitative identification of asbestos type and quantification is not required. [_/su_spoiler]
PLM – NIOSH 9002 – Visual Estimation
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Method 9002 is both a qualitative and semi-quantitative method for the determination of asbestos in bulk samples by PLM. The method measures percent asbestos as perceived by the analyst in comparison to standard area projections, photos, and drawings, or trained experience. The method is not applicable to samples containing large amounts of fine fibers below the resolution of the light microscope (see TEM). [_/su_spoiler] [_/su_accordion]
TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY METHODS
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TEM – EPA 600/R-93/116 – VE by TEM after Gravimetric Reduction (< 1% LOD)
A useful method originally referred to as the “Chatfield Method” that improves both the accuracy and precision of analysis of Non-friable Organically Bound samples. Bulk samples containing dense matrices like floor tiles, mastics and roofing materials are considered Problem Samples. If present, asbestos fibers are tightly bound to the matrix material and not easily isolated and detected by light microscopy often resulting in a false negative. Additional prepping procedures (NOB Preparation) include gravimetric reduction by ashing the samples several hours in a muffle furnace at high temperatures, followed by dissolution of the remaining residue with Hydrochloric Acid. The final residue is then analyzed by TEM for the presence of asbestos. TEM is capable of detecting asbestos fibers too small to resolve by optical microscopy (PLM) such as those typically found in Vinyl Asbestos Tile (VAT).
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Drop Mount - Qualitative (presence/absence) Analysis
This method quickly checks for asbestos content in bulk samples. A subsample of a material is ground in a mortar and pestle, sonicated in particle-free de-ionized water and placed on a carbon coated grid. The grid is then analyzed by TEM for the presence of asbestos.
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TEM – EPA 600/J-93/167 – Asbestos in Carpet Samples
A small piece of carpet (typically 10 by 10 cm) is analyzed by TEM to determine if asbestos fibers are present. Essentially, the carpet sample is sonicated in particle free water to release the fibers and the resulting liquid is filtered and analyzed by TEM. This destructive method has a much greater sensitivity for asbestos bound up in carpet fibers than the sampling protocol outlined in the ASTM D5755 “Microvac” method.
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ASBESTOS IN WATER
TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY METHODS
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TEM – Drinking Water – EPA Method 100.2 (7 MFL LOD)
EPA 100.1 and its successor, EPA 100.2 are TEM methods for the determination of the presence and quantitation of asbestos structures in drinking water samples. EPA 100.1/100.2 allows for the quantitation of asbestos structures >10 µm in length. Results are expressed in millions of fibers >10 µm per liter (MFL). An analytical sensitivity of at least 0.2 MFL is required. Asbestos fibers < 10 µm in length are not included in the final calculation, but can be documented upon request.
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TEM – Waste Water/Solvents – EPA Method 100.2
The same methodology is utilized for the analysis of waste water samples. The difference results in sensitivities often not achieving the 0.2 MFL required by EPA 100.2. This decrease in sensitivity is typically due to excessive levels of debris or turbidity in the samples. These samples also typically require additional prepping procedures to achieve a “readable” result.
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ASBESTOS IN SETTLED DUST
TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY METHODS
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TEM – ASTM D5755-03  Standard Test Method for Microvacuum Sampling and Indirect Analysis of Dust by Transmission Electron Microscopy for Asbestos Structure Number Surface Loading
This method utilizes air cassettes as a micro-vacuum sampling device to gather dust from a carefully measured surface. Typically 100 cm2 is sampled. The samples are then analyzed by TEM to identify asbestos. The result is an estimate of the surface concentration of asbestos structures reported in asbestos structures per square centimeter. NOTE: There are no accepted “pass/fail” criteria for this method. This method is best employed to compare effectiveness of pre- and post- asbestos abatement activities.
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TEM – ASTM 5756-02  Standard Test Method for Microvacuum Sampling and Indirect Analysis of Dust by Transmission Electron Microscopy for Asbestos Mass Concentration
Same as ASTM D5755 method but this method provides results in mass of asbestos per unit area of sample surface, OR mass of asbestos per mass of sampled dust.
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TEM – ASTM D6480-05  Standard Test Method for Wipe Sampling of Surfaces, Indirect Preparation, and Analysis for Asbestos Structure Number Concentration by Transmission Electron Microscopy
A method to identify asbestos in dust samples wiped (as opposed to vacuumed) from surfaces and determine the concentration of asbestos structures in number of asbestos structures per unit area. This method can also be conducted on a qualitative (presence/absence) basis if the area sampled is unknown. Contact J3 for information on the proper types of wipes required by this method.
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ASBESTOS IN SOIL AND ROCK
TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY
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TEM – CARB 435 - Determination of Asbestos Content of Serpentine Aggregate with TEM Confirmation
This method involves a fine milling of samples (typically aggregate, but often soils) to create a completely homogenous mixture. This maximizes the possibility of detection and increases the accuracy of quantification. The analysis can be performed by Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) or Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). The TEM analysis is used for a more definitive analysis (confirmation of None Detected by PLM) with sensitivities down to 0.001% by weight.
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TEM – J3 In-House Sieve Method plus TEM Confirmation
A sieve method that utilizes a combination of ovens, mills and sieves to best prepare a homogenous subsample to be analyzed by either PLM or TEM depending on the soil sample and type and concentration of asbestos in the sample.
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POLARIZED LIGHT MICROSCOPY
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PLM – CARB Method 435 - Determination of Asbestos Content of Serpentine Aggregate (Rapid Screen Only)
This method involves a fine milling of the sample (typically aggregate) to create a completely homogenous mixture. This maximizes the possibility of detection and increases the accuracy of quantification. The analysis can be performed by Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) or Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) utilizing the widely recognized EPA/600/R-93/116 method. The PLM method uses a 400 Point Count (0.25%) or 1,000 Point Count (0.1%). [_/su_spoiler]
PLM – J3 In-House Sieve Method (Quantitative)
A sieve method that utilizes a combination of ovens, mills and sieves to best prepare a homogenous subsample to be analyzed by either PLM or TEM depending on the concentration of asbestos in the sample.
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PLM – EPA Region I Screening Protocol (Qualitative)
This comparably low tech screening method was developed in 1994 and is considered to provide semi-quantitative results at best. Good for rapid detection of asbestos in a large number of samples needing rapid turnaround times.
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ASBESTOS IN AIR
PHASE CONTRAST MICROSCOPY (PCM) METHODS
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PCM – NIOSH 7400 Asbestos and Other Fibers by PCM
NIOSH 7400 is routinely used to determine concentration of all detectable fibers (asbestos AND non-asbestos) in air by optical microscopy. Fibers < 5.0 µm in length, < 0.25 µm in diameter, or with a length to width ratio less than 3:1 will not be recorded if detected by this method. NIOSH 7400 alone cannot distinguish between asbestos and non-asbestos fibers. A low count result does not guarantee a low concentration of asbestos. Likewise, a high NIOSH 7400 count does not necessarily indicate a high asbestos concentration.  A TEM method (NIOSH 7402) is required to be used in conjunction with NIOSH 7400 to definitively qualify fiber identification.
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PCM – NIOSH 7400 with 8 Hour TWA
Time Weighted Averages are used for determination of compliance with OSHA limits. A NIOSH 7400 result is mathematically “weighted” to determine the workers exposure in terms of an eight (8) hour shift. Regulatory agencies often limit exposures for workers based on an eight (8) hour shift or Time Weighted Average (TWA).
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PCM – NIOSH 7400 B Rules
Other counting rules may be more appropriate for measurement of specific non-asbestos fiber types, such as fibrous glass. These include the "B" rules. The upper diameter limit in this method (< 3.0 µm) prevents measurements of non-thoracic fibers. NIOSH recommends the use of the 3:1 aspect ratio in counting fibers.
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PCM – OSHA ID-160
A known volume of air is drawn through a 25-mm diameter cassette containing a mixed-cellulose ester filter. The cassette must be equipped with an electrically conductive 50-mm extension cowl. The sampling time and rate are chosen to give a fiber density of between 100 to 1,300 fibers/mm2 on the filter. A portion of the sample filter is cleared and prepared for asbestos fiber counting by Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) at 400X. OSHA ID-160 is very similar to the NIOSH 7400 Method and is not able to distinguish between asbestos and non-asbestos fibers.
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PCM – ASTM 7200
This method describes the determination of the concentration of fibers, expressed as the number of such fibers per milliliter of air, using Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) and optionally Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) to evaluate particulate material collected on a membrane filter in the breathing zone of an individual or by area sampling in a specific location. This practice is based on the core procedures provided in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standard ISO 8672, the National Institute for Occupational and Health (NIOSH) Manual of Analytical Methods, NIOSH 7400, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Method ID 160.
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PCM – ASTM 7201
This practice describes the determination of the concentration of fibers, expressed as the number of such fibers per milliliter of air, using Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) and optionally Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), to evaluate particulate material collected on a membrane filter in the breathing zone of an individual or by area sampling in a specific location. This practice is based on the core procedures provided in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standard ISO 8672, the National Institute for Occupational and Health (NIOSH) Manual of Analytical Methods, NIOSH 7400, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Method ID 160.
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TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY (TEM) METHODS
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TEM – AHERA (40CFR Part 763, Subpart E, Appendix A)
The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) is required by the EPA for clearance in schools after abatement activities and requires overall filter debris loading of < 10%. The AHERA method is considered “state of the art” for detection of all asbestos fibers in air. The AHERA method will detect and report asbestos structures as small as 0.5 µm in length and 0.02 µm in diameter, well beyond the resolution of optical microscopy.
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TEM – NIOSH 7402
A TEM method developed to be used in conjunction with NIOSH 7400, Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM). PCM cannot distinguish between asbestos and non-asbestos fibers. Elevated PCM results often occur even when no asbestos is present (carpet, gypsum fibers). The TEM's increased capabilities can distinguish each fiber reported by PCM as asbestos or non-asbestos. The method then calculates the ratio of asbestos fibers to non-asbestos fibers. This ratio can be applied to original PCM results, giving a concentration of asbestos structures per cubic centimeter (versus total fibers per cubic centimeter). NIOSH 7402 is routinely utilized by consultants for quality control or to better guarantee the absence of asbestos in the air in public buildings after abatement or remediation activities.
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TEM – ISO 10312
This international standard is applicable to the determination of airborne asbestos by direct transfer method in a wide range of ambient air situations including the interior atmospheres of buildings, and for detailed evaluation of any atmosphere in which asbestos structures are likely to be present. While the ISO 10312 method documents all asbestos fibers, it also includes additional fiber size information, such as length, width, and aspect ratio, not recorded under AHERA protocols.
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TEM – ASTM D6281-09
This test method is an analytical procedure using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) for the determination of the concentration of asbestos structures in ambient atmospheres. It includes measurements of the dimensions of asbestos structures and asbestos fibers found within the structures from which aspect ratios are calculated. This method is necessarily complex as it reports precise detail about the measurements of the often-complex structures encountered in a typical air sample. This test method was adapted from International Standard ISO 10312 Air Quality - Determination of Asbestos Fibres - Direct Transfer Transmission Electron Microscopy Method.
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TEM – ISO 13794
This international standard is applicable to the determination of airborne asbestos by indirect transfer method in a wide range of ambient air situations. This includes airborne asbestos quantification in the interior atmospheres of buildings, or for detailed evaluation of any atmosphere in which asbestos structures are likely to be present. ISO 10312 includes the measurement of the lengths, widths and aspect ratios of the asbestos structures.
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TEM – EPA - Yamate Level II
Authored by Yamate, Satish and Gibbons in 1984, this is an older (obsolete) TEM method that is divided into three increasingly stringent levels of analysis depending on the concentration of fibers and need of the consultant. Many consider the “Yamate - Level II” method to be the foundation of the AHERA TEM method.
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ASBESTOS IN VERMICULITE
POLARIZED LIGHT MICROSCOPY
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PLM – EPA 600/R-04/004 – PLM (Rapid Screen Only - Cincinnati Method)
This method provides a procedure for the rapid characterization of fibrous amphibole constituents of vermiculite attic insulation. Vermiculite from Zonolite Mountain near Libby, MT is likely to contain fibrous amphiboles and was widely used as attic insulation or sound dampening material throughout the continental U.S. TEM confirmation of samples determined to be negative by PLM is recommended.
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TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY
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TEM – EPA 600/R-04/004 – PLM Rapid Screen + TEM (Full Cincinnati Method)
This method provides a procedure for the characterization of fibrous amphibole constituents of vermiculite attic insulation. Vermiculite from Zonolite Mountain near Libby, MT is likely to contain fibrous amphiboles and was widely used as attic insulation or sound dampening material throughout the continental U.S.
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ASBESTOS IN LUNG AND OTHER TISSUE/TISSUE FIBER BURDEN ANALYSIS
TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY
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TEM – Williams Jr., M. G., Dodson, R. F., Corn, C., Hurst, G. A. A Procedure for the Isolation of Amosite Asbestos and Ferruginous Bodies from Lung Tissue and Sputum. J. Tox. And Env. Health, 10:627-638, 1982.
This method focuses on identification and quantification of asbestos fibers and ferruginous bodies in human tissue samples for litigation support. Please contact J3 Resources, Inc. for details.

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NON-ASBESTOS FIBEROUS MINERAL QUALIFICATIONS
TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY
J3 Resources, Inc. can identify a wide list of natural and manmade fibers by TEM including Refractory Ceramic Fibers (RCF’s); Talc; Man Made Mineral/Vitreous Fibers (MMMF’s/MMVF’s); Erionite.

WHAT OUR
CUSTOMERS SAY

Discover why J3 Resources is a trusted provider of independent analytical services.

Coming from an academic background, we appreciate that the J3 philosophy includes a commitment to provide excellent laboratory support, as well as an interest in conducting research and understanding the interdisciplinary issues associated with our projects. That philosophy is typified by their participation in industry meetings and government conferences, by their published research in peer reviewed biomedical journals, and in invitations to present at prestigious academic conferences including the Harvard School of Public Health’s annual “Current Concepts and Controversies in Asbestos-Related Diseases” and at the Collegium Ramazzini Conference in Italy for specialists in occupational medicine.

Ronald F. Dodson, Ph.D., F.C.C.P., F.A.H.A.

President
Dodson Environmental Consulting, Inc.

It is such an honor to use your excellent and highly professional services from the front desk and their friendly and always helpful service to the highly talented professionals in the back. I never drop off samples but that someone stops by to shake my hand and visit if even for just a moment. At the end of a long day it’s so nice to stop by and finish it off at J3.

Tom Brick

Brick by Brick Consulting

J3 Resources has provided Texas Tech University with excellent laboratory analytical services for nearly 15 years. Lee and Cathy Poye have gathered a great team of professionals. It is a pleasure communicating and working with the staff at J3. Thank you for your services!

Michael Toombs, B.S.

Unit Manager for Asbestos Compliance
Asbestos Individual Consultant
Texas Tech University

I’ve been sending samples to J3 since its inception. I’ve had many great experiences over the years, but this is one I thought you should know about. I know this is the standard operating procedure for J3, but they really helped me out with a mistake I made on a survey. I had to go back to the project site to take some additional samples late in the afternoon. It was extremely important that our client received results and report that day. I wasn’t able to get to the lab until 4:05 and by 4:20 I had the results and the report, which made it possible for me to get the report out before 5. This is one of the many reasons I will never, ever use another lab. I just want to say thanks, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.

Ryan Miller

Vice President
Honesty Environmental Services, Inc.

Thanks for the great service you all always provide!

Arthur Huckabee

President
Rain Bowen Environmental, LLC

You guys are absolutely the best and incredible to work with!

Brandon Smitherman

Etech Environmental & Safety Solutions, Inc

J3 has always come through for me. Tight turnaround times, challenging projects, unusual scopes…Lee and his team will find an innovative solution. From technical capabilities to administrative assistance, J3 leads the way in excellent service. Thank you for making me feel like the most important customer…I am sure everyone feels that way.

Havovi Dotiwala

President
Envirotas, Inc.

If you are looking for a professional Industrial Hygiene Laboratory in the Houston or surrounding areas, I highly recommend J3 Resources. Lee Poye and his staff are extremely knowledgeable about the industry, the quality of the report is excellent, and they have great customer service. They are my lab of choice on all of my projects.

Andy Sanchez

Houston Branch Manager
Farmer Environmental Group, LLC

The staff at J3 Resources bend over backwards to provide my firm great customer service. It is obvious that customer satisfaction is instilled in all staff members. I highly recommend J3 Resources, Inc.

Bob Copus, P.G., CAPM

Vice President
Asbestos Consultant
QC Laboratories, Inc.

We have worked with J3 Resources, Inc. for several years, and have found their prices to be competitive and their service, quality and reliability to be exceptional. They have become our trusted business partner and our exclusive provider!

Thomas R. Martens, P.G.

Senior Principal
Department Manager I Environmental Services
Terracon Consultants, Inc.

J3 Resources is an outstanding company and very responsive. Whatever the need, day or night, they are able to comply with our requests. Relationships and partnerships are made over time, and ours has been built over many years. J3 Resources will always be our first choice.

Ron G. Holt

Chief Executive Officer
EFI Global, Inc.

Dodson Environmental has had the privilege of interacting with J3 Resources since our company was formed. We have appreciated the level of their expertise including state of the art technical knowledge provided by the administration and staff of J3 Resources. We consider that they offer both “state of the art” instrumentation and technical expertise as well as a willingness to provide guidance in solving challenges associated with complex as well as straight forward projects.

Ronald F. Dodson, Ph.D., F.C.C.P., F.A.H.A.

President
Dodson Environmental Consulting, Inc.

Over the past several years I have sent hundreds of samples from building surveys to J3 Resources, Inc. Their response has always met the demands of my clients for fast turnaround and my own expectations for detailed information on all sample layers. Furthermore, J3 has satisfied my rigorous requirements for analysis of bulk, air, and microvac samples collected for research and special assignments.

ANDREW F. OBERTA, MPH, CIH

The Environmental Consultancy
Austin, TX ”