Question: Where can someone send a strange substance found on their property for analysis?

bbutler is asking a question about sampling: Follow this topic

bbutler asked on September 14, 2017 18:57
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I wanted to see if someone could help me identify a lab that can analyze a sample of a gum-like substance that a local resident is concerned about. I'm sure it would help to have more information but right now all we know is it's in front of and behind her property, located in the bayview hunters point community which has a host of pollution sources and legacy contamination (superfund site). I was just wondering if there was some way to have it analyzed to see what it is without knowing what it could potentially be. With that being said, do you know of any labs that I could reach out to on this? Please let me know.



9 Comments

Hi there, just to make sure, is this Houston area? There's also a Hunters Point in the San Francisco area. Thanks!

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Sorry for the confusion Stevie, I rewrote my question/post a couple times and accidentally left out that I'm referring to a resident located in San Francisco, CA. However, the lab doesn't necessarily need to be located locally.

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ok got it! thanks

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it could just be a fungus among us. there are some really weird looking fungi, e.g. google "fungus that looks like vomit" and click on IMAGES.

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The folks at San Francisco Estuary Institute (www.sfei.org) may be able to point you in the direction of a company or research group that may test unknown substances. Also, I don't have have any experience with this lab, but Torrent Lab looks to be pretty versatile: http://www.torrentlab.com/torrent/Home/LaboratoryCapabilities/EnvironmentalAnalysisServices/Water&Soil.html.

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Thank you David, I appreciate those insights. However, what I'm really looking for is a referral to a lab anywhere in the country that could analyze an unknown, tar-like substance to determine exactly what it is.

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http://www.emsl.com https://www.pacelabs.com

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oh man Gretchen and David, you guys rock! thank you!

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Hi @bbutler, How did this turn out? Did you get it tested? Another thought is to go to a local state public health laboratory (general info about public health laboratories are here: https://www.aphl.org/aboutAPHL/pages/aboutphls.aspx). The PHL nearest you is in San Francisco, but from their website, it looks like they focus on human specimen analyses (blood, urine, etc). Here's a link to the state of California Environmental Health Laboratory basic page: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DEODC/Pages/Environmental-Health-Topics.aspx. I haven't looked to see how easy it is to locate a specific lab near you that would test soils (or hazardous materials). In any case, I just wanted to check up on how this went and see if you needed more resources. Let me know!

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