The science bit: Putting the important work of our laboratories under the microscope

Behind the scenes of our laboratories

AMONG the experts at Acorn Analytical Services is a dedicated team of laboratory analysts who work in our in-house laboratories in Northampton and Cleckheaton.

Their work involves supporting our consultants, and our clients, by analysing samples of materials which are found on-site or sent to us to be investigated.

Here we take a more detailed look at the work our laboratories do and what makes it so important.

Why have in-house laboratories?

Having two, UKAS-accredited laboratories helps to make Acorn unique – giving us the capacity to be able to turn around tests quickly and efficiently.

A large part of the work our analysts do involves testing samples which are suspected of containing asbestos. Based on guidance issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), our analysts identify and remove the different types of fibres present in a sample using stereo binocular microscopy and polarised light microscopy. Positive confirmation of asbestos is shown by the sign of elongation of the birefringent fibres and from the colours obtained using central stop dispersion staining when the fibres are mounted in liquids of the known refractive index.

Do your laboratories conduct other tests?

Our analysts can help in other ways too, offering tests for anthrax and lead paint.

For many years, plaster was reinforced with animal hair to make it stronger but some of the animals used in this process could have been infected with anthrax. Anthrax bacteria can survive for many years making it a hazard in some older buildings. While the risk to health does remain low, if you suspect that anthrax exists in your building you should always get a sample tested to keep yourself and those around you safe.

Similarly, the lead in lead paint can be a serious risk to health. Used to create the pigments in paints in older buildings, including offices and schools until the 1960s, exposure to lead can cause problems over time if it is not identified early and dealt with.

Again, if you are working on the site of an older building and believe that lead might be used in the paint, getting a sample tested is essential.

We also have a mobile laboratory which can be used to conduct specialist tests on-site giving immediate results when speed really is of the essence.

What does it mean for me?

Having our own laboratories, and a dedicated team of experts, means we can carry out testing quickly giving you the results you need within 24 hours in most cases. Other tests may take up to 12 days.

Working with our team of expert consultants, we can help you get the best advice possible and because we are one of the last fully independent consultancies in the UK, you can be assured we are always impartial.

Depending on the nature of the test, samples can be dropped off at our laboratories in Cleckheaton and Northampton by prior appointment or collected. Safety guidelines must be followed at all times – for more detailed information please contact us on the telephone number below.

Prices for testing does vary depending on the work required. Get in touch today to arrange an appointment with one of our consultants for a free, no obligation quote. The price you are given is always the price you will pay.

Acorn is a professional asbestos consultancy helping organisations deal with asbestos compliance using asbestos surveysasbestos air testing, and asbestos removal management. 

Please call one of the team, or use the online form to obtain your free quotation. If you would like further information or advice on asbestos and asbestos training, contact the team on 0844 818 0895 or Contact Us

Ian Stone

I am based out of our Northampton office but regularly travel to meet with new and existing clients. I have assisted thousands of clients over the years on varying-sized projects, several have been schemes totalling over one million pounds spent purely on asbestos. Together with Neil Munro, I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I am Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

Need Help? Request a Call Back

Request a call back from one of our expert Asbestos Consultants who will help you identify what you need

More Asbestos Articles

Acorn Analytical Services is raising awareness of asbestos

Asbestos may be out of sight but it should never be out of mind

WITH construction methods advancing all the time its easy to think of asbestos as a building material which has long been consigned to the history books. Used extensively in post-war Britain, as a cheap building material known primarily for its fire-retardant properties, asbestos was central to the rebuilding of the UK used in many public … Read more

Asbestos management consultancy Acorn Analytical Services continues to grow

Asbestos management consultancy Acorn Analytical Services grows its team after successful start to 2024

THE start of the year has been a busy one for the team at asbestos management consultancy Acorn Analytical Services with a number of new clients coming on board. These are exciting times for Acorn – and as the business has continued to grow – so too has our team. Since Christmas, we’ve created 12 … Read more

The new senior leadership team at asbestos managment consultancy, Acorn Analytical Services. From left to right, Sian Stone, Sam Savage and Daniel Crask.

Three reasons why you should always #chooseacorn for all of your asbestos management needs

If you’re a regular visitor to our social media channels you’ll almost certainly have seen the hashtag #chooseacorn being used and maybe even wondered why. For Acorn Analytical Services these two words alone mark a real step change in the way we do business – representing a fresh start and a bolder, much more innovative … Read more

The new senior leadership team at asbestos management consultancy Acorn Analytical Services. From left to right, Steve McGlone, Andy Jackson and Simon Rodham.

Award-winning asbestos management consultancy starts 2024 with a new senior team

AWARD-WINNING asbestos management consultancy Acorn Analytical Services has announced a new senior leadership team to take the company into 2024 and beyond. After a record-breaking year which saw the company recognised for High Growth at the National SME Awards while taking on new clients and winning new business across the UK, Acorn Analytical Services, which … Read more

Ian Stone, director of asbestos management consultancy, Acorn Analytical Services

Let’s start 2024 in the right way – by getting rid of the dangers of asbestos for good

According to the latest data from the Health and Safety Executive 2,268 people died from asbestos-related mesothelioma in 2021 alone. It’s a shocking statistic, particularly when you consider that the use of asbestos in new buildings was banned in the UK in 1999 – more than 20 years ago. With Cancer Research UK confirming that … Read more

This Men's Health Month is time to talk about absestos

Men’s Health Month – it’s time to talk openly about asbestos

NOVEMBER marks Men’s Health Month – a time for shining the spotlight on the conditions and issues which affect men from all walks of life. While the focus quite rightly turns to serious health issues including Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer and mental health, at Acorn Analytical Services we want people to start talking about asbestos. … Read more

Asbestos consultancy Acorn Analytical Services will soon be moving into new offices

Have you heard the news? Asbestos consultancy Acorn Analytical Services Northampton is on the move

IF you haven’t heard the news already, we are delighted to announce that asbestos connsultancy Acorn Analytical Services Northampton will be starting a brand-new chapter very soon. In the coming days, our team will be moving to new – much larger – offices on Northampton’s Moulton Park, the place which has been our home for … Read more

asbestos in talcum powder

Unveiling the Hidden Danger: The Menace of Asbestos in Talcum Powder and the UK’s Stance

Explore the veiled danger of asbestos in talcum powder, the UK’s vigilant regulations, and the unfolding narrative of consumer safety. Dive into the rigorous testing methodologies, industry responses, and the promising horizon of international cooperation aiming to foster a safer landscape in the realm of personal care products.

RAAC and asbestos could be a problem in some buildings

Raac and ruin? How concrete crisis also raises the question of asbestos

A LOT has been said recently about Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) and asbestos. While fears about the safety of RAAC continue to dominate the headlines both nationally and locally, it is the additional threat from asbestos which we believe should be discussed now as a matter of urgency. Just as RAAC is crumbling in … Read more

Asbestos consultancy, Acorn Analytical Services, will be raising money for Mesothelioma UK

Asbestos consultancy gears up for 24-hour fundraising challenge

FOR many years the team at Acorn Analytical Services has been an avid supporter of Mesothelioma UK, the only charity in the UK dedicated to supporting people affected by this deadly disease. Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibres and shockingly still kills around 5,000 people each year in the UK – … Read more