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Smoke Damage Claims to Properties Likely to Increase from California Wildfires


EMSL Analytical offers carbon black analysis for fire and smoke damage investigations.

As over 1400 separate wildfires have caused 1,100 square miles of California wilderness to burn, close to 19,000 fire fighters and national guardsmen from around the country have been working to bring the devastating wildfires to a close. This year’s fire season has already set a California record for the most fires burning at one time.

As the wildfires begin to be extinguished across the state, homeowners and business owners are beginning to be allowed back into some areas to inspect their properties. Some lucky people have found untouched properties while others have come home to completely destroyed houses and businesses. A significant number will discover properties without visible fire damage, but smoke damage can have far reaching consequences.

Those facing smoke damage in their homes may find themselves needing to test their properties for proof of damage. EMSL Analytical, one of the nation’s leading environmental testing laboratories, performs carbon black and combustion byproducts testing using a combination of techniques in culmination with Electron Microscopy.

Carbon black and combustion byproducts (carbonized material) deposited on surfaces can lead to odors, permanent discoloration and “ghosting” effects. Sampling for carbon black on surfaces can be performed by simply wiping as much area as necessary to darken a sample collection pad for analysis.

“Many testing laboratories use Polarized Light or Phase Contrast Microscopes which cannot adequately provide identification of carbon black in many cases,” reported Paul Cochrane, Director of Marketing at EMSL Analytical. “EMSL provides expert analysis that frequently results in the dismissal of less reliable techniques in legal cases,” Cochrane went on to say.

EMSL has been offering testing services following natural and manmade disasters since its inception in 1981. For more information on testing services and products provided by EMSL please call (800) 220-3675, visit or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, food, and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.


 California Fires
 Carbon Black
 Fire Insurance

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