[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:
In France, the owners of buildings have been obliged since February 1996 to ascertain whether asbestos has been incorporated into surfacing materials, insulation products or false ceilings. In certain circumstances, there is also a requirement to measure the airborne asbestos fibre concentration. Three years (1996-1998) of asbestos fibre count reporting are evaluated for the proficiency testing scheme organized in France to evaluate the performance of laboratories using an indirect-transfer transmission electron microscopy procedure to measure the airborne asbestos fibre concentration. Each year eight filters are distributed to each participating laboratory. These filters are obtained by filtering a suspension containing chrysotile or amphibole fibres. In 1996, 36% of the laboratories were rated 1 (the best performers; i.e. those providing counts close to the reference value). Performance improved appreciably in the last round where 85% of the laboratories were rated 1.