Bulk Talc Analysis

Many consumer goods contain talc minerals, including numerous personal care products. RJ Lee Group’s in-house geologists and mineralogists perform bulk talc analyses to determine if asbestos, crystalline silica, and/or other substances of interest are present in either raw materials or final products.

Our experts use several analytical techniques to characterize talc samples, including: powder x-ray diffraction (XRD), polarized light microscopy (PLM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).


XRD methods identify minerals based on the forms and structures of their crystals, known as their crystallographic properties. Through the use of XRD, minerals that could potentially form asbestos have a recognizable signature that can be used to detect their presence. Our experts often optimize the XRD analysis methods through the use of gravimetric sample reduction preparation techniques, internal standards, multiple scans, and slow scan rates to provide high quality results.


Scientists use PLM analysis to evaluate if any amphibole and/or serpentine minerals present are consistent with asbestos, or if they are made up of other forms of the mineral (e.g., cleavage fragments). This technique can identify the morphology of particles down to approximately one micrometer (μm) in size. Using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), the identification and enumeration of even smaller particles is performed. This technique is capable of resolving particles that are tens of nanometers (nm) in size.

Other Methods

Other testing of talc samples often includes total crystalline silica (TCS) and respirable crystalline silica (RCS) testing. XRD techniques are used to quantify the amount of crystalline silica present. RJ Lee Group provides accurate quantification for TCS and RCS for a variety of industries using a modified version of the NIOSH 7500 method. For more information on that analysis please see our page on TCS.

In addition to the methods above, RJLG can perform any number of other chemical or microanalytical tests on talc materials, and can develop customized investigations into any number of properties important to talc producers and users.

In the second half of 2016, RJLG will begin utilizing more sensitive XRD analysis that provides even lower reporting limits (RL) for Talc samples. A newly updated system will offer over 300,000 reference XRD patterns to determine mineral constituents.