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Lab Testing of Environmental Samples:
Asbestos, Groundwater, and more


What Do We Analyze?


Fisher Laboratory partners with independent professionals and the general public across the province to help analyze environmental samples and/or provide support with sample collection. If you require support with the investigation, identification, or collection of samples, please contact us directly. We offer convenient and efficient asbestos testing services for properties across Toronto, ON.

Our chemical and analytical services are divided into three categories:


Air: Air Quality (especially indoor)

Water: Watershed, Groundwater, Aquifers (wells)

Earth: Soil, Sediments, Materials (building materials)


More information on timing, fast tracking, emergencies, questions about us or how to submit your own samples. We can collect samples for you or you can bring your own.

Further reading:



Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral made up of microscopic fibres. It was widely used in building materials until its long-term adverse effects were discovered. It is known for its fireproofing and retardant properties in construction materials such as insulation or drywall. Because it releases no gases, it can only be detected through microscopic asbestos testing. Some materials that could contain asbestos are:


  • Floor and ceiling tiles

  • Textured paint

  • Roofing shingles and siding

  • Insulation on pipes and tanks

  • Soundproofing or decorative sprays

  • Patching compounds

  • Cement roofing

Further reading:

Common Areas Where Asbestos Can be Found


Most homes built before 1980 are likely to have some presence of asbestos and put you at risk of asbestos poisoning. When you call for our professional asbestos testing services:


  • First, we will do a visual consultation to inspect your property.

  • We will then take a few samples from materials that are likely to contain asbestos.

  • We will then test for the presence of asbestos at our state-of-the-art laboratory.

  • In the end, our team will present the results and explain the ramifications in detail to help you understand the importance of remediation.

Call us to book our asbestos testing services for your property in Toronto, ON.



Air tests

Air Tests

Air Tests are typically about uncovering possible problems with indoor air quality.


Tests and sampling include substances such as VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) as well as lead, asbestos, and mould, which are materials that if disturbed, become airborne

In some instances, air samples are taken in conjunction with surface samples to provide a clear picture of the nature and origin of the suspected contamination. The following are just some of the known contaminants of concern when examining air quality:



  • Often found in paint, furniture or carpets.
  • Collection and Testing: Samples are taken through pumped air and absorbed in a solution. The Lab then tests the solution.


Chlorinated VOC

  • Often found with dry cleaning activities.
  • Collection and Testing: Samples are taken through pumped air. The Lab then tests them through a solution.


Benzene VOC

  • Often found in gas stations and auto-repair shops
  • Collection and Testing: T-test



  • Often found in older paints. Lead found in water (due to old pipes/minerals/manufacturing) is a water test
  • Collection and Testing: Samples of paint are taken and tested. Such tests are often critical during times of disruption such as renovations or demolition.

How to Submit Asbestos
Sample for Testing



1.Fill out the Asbestos Laboratory Request Form (Chain of Custody). Fields include: 

  • Contact information (client)
  • Name of sample
  • Submission (where sample was located and how it arrived at the lab).

Regulations require all information about the sample to be included with the submission.


2. Place the sample in a NEW DRY Ziploc bag.

3. Deliver via courier or mail the sample(s) with  the completed Chain of Custody form to our Lab. Alternatively, you may drop it off in person  (as we would love to chat) or place it into our designated drop box after hours

Never handle Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) without professional training. Call us if you require ACM removal.

water tests

Water Tests

Example Parameters for Water Analysis

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), tested via Purge/Trap and GC/MS


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), tested viaGC/ECD


Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), tested via GC/MS


Petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs), tested via GC/MS,GC/FID


Chlorinated solvents (e.g. Tetrachloroethylene –‘perc’), included in VOCs


Benzene, ethylbenzene, xylene toluene (BTEX), included in VOCs


Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), included in VOCs


Vinyl chloride, included in VOCs


Mercury, tested via CVAA or ICP/MS


Metals, including LEAD (e.g. from old water pipes/minerals/manufacturing), Zinc, etc., tested via ICP/MS or ICP/OES.


CyanideNEW, tested via Colorimetric Method


Hexavalent chromiumNEW, tested via Colorimetric Method

Our focus is groundwater evaluation and drinking water assessment for those relying on private wells.


Ground Water


Analyzed groundwater is typically associated with environmental soil problems originating at the property or from neighbouring properties. Current and especially historical land use activities, such as gas stations, dry cleaners, and factories, can impact the surrounding area over time.


Local, provincial, and federal governments have established specific threshold points within which known contaminants can be accepted. These acceptable standards are designed to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of all those who live within the region. They are identified through an environmental assessment.


Parameters sampled and tested include metals, petroleum hydrocarbons(PHCs), PCBs, PAHs and VOCs. Many of these substances may also be found in the soil and tested through earth samples.


Well Water 

Well Water is also ground water. Contamination caused by human actions may happen in the form of chlorine or pesticides, which is a major threat to a healthy ecosystem and to the water you and both domesticated animals or wildlife might be drinking.


While the laboratory at Fisher does NOT test standard municipal drinking water, we can refer you to laboratories that offer this service.

earth tests

Earth Tests

Earth tests usually include samples in the form of soil and sediment, but can also include building materials. Like water testing, soil analysis is typically about some kind of property contamination due to existing or previous and historical land use. Most of the same officially recognized organic and inorganic substances found in water, can also be found and/or tested through soil samples.

Soil contamination can migrate to other areas of the property over time and can leach into the existing groundwater, aquifers, and neighbouring watershed. Soil can also absorb contaminants as impacted water moves through the soil layers. To establish the extent and depth of possible environmental problems, both earth AND water samples are advised to be taken when a property shows evidence of contamination.

Soil-Only Tests

Sodium Absorption Ratio (SAR), tested via Extraction and ICP/OES

Moisture - Percent Moisture

Grain Size - Particle Distribution

For Agricultural activities tests many include calcium, sodium, and magnesium. Increased sodium amounts are problematic.

General Tests for both
Water and Earth

pH (for optimal level range), tested via Extraction and pH Meter


EC Conductivity (total salt), tested via Extraction and Conductivity Meter

Speciality Analysis

Illicit Drug Facility Investigation and Cannabis, MDMA, Meth House Facility Cleanup

Fisher Laboratory, often together with Fisher’s Engineering team, has extensive experience consulting on and remediating illegal drug manufacturing facilities and illegally or inappropriately operated marijuana grow ops. We offer confirmatory air sampling post-remediation activities.


Research and Regulations

For the last 15 years, we have worked alongside government agencies and other industry leaders to navigate evolving regulations when marijuana grow ops began to emerge in residential neighbourhoods. Cannabis legislation changed federally and varies provincially in Canada in 2018. Non-approved facilities are still illegal in Canada.



Fisher Laboratory provides certificates and reports regarding restoration, as well as letters of compliance for:

  • Specialty research projects
  • Forensic investigations


Special Requests

Over our history in service, we have enjoyed many unique scenarios and analysis. Do not hesitate to call us with questions, as it is impossible to offer our complete portfolio. If we don’t do it, we can help you find someone who does!

Modern Architecture








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