Lack of uniform, comprehensive laboratory accreditation standards in the U.S. results in potentially large disparities in the quality of data generated under different regulatory programs (e.g., safe Drinking Water Act, NPDES, RCRA) and within a single program. As a result, there may be a false sense of known comparability across laboratories. Rigorous, consistent laboratory accreditation standards are one important means to ensure that comparable data are available to resource agencies in evaluating the performance of environmental programs.
An objective assessment of laboratory competence, including personnel training and experience, is an essential element for ensuring high quality data. A rigorous laboratory accreditation program has been identified as one tool to meet this goal. Laboratory accreditation is the independent assessment of a laboratory's technical competence and quality system. Many aspects of the laboratory, including its facilities, equipment, personnel, methodologies, and record-keeping systems, may be evaluated by an independent party during the accreditation process. The purpose of an independent accreditation is to ensure that adequate quality systems are in place, so that the laboratory meets established standards for competence. Accreditation of laboratories, using international standards, is an effective way of ensuring this competence in a comprehensive and uniform manner across all laboratories generating data. Back to Accreditation...