Asbestos proficiency testing program support earns national accreditation
RTI International scientists recently earned recognition from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation for their significant involvement in proficiency testing of laboratories using optical and electron microscopy to analyze for asbestos in building materials and air samples.
The accreditation as a proficiency testing provider is based on internationally-accepted criteria for competence and is mutually-recognized by the nearly 70 International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation-member bodies in 60 countries.
The accreditation combines the elements of ISO/IEC guidelines 17025:2005 and 43:1997 for analytical laboratories and proficiency testing providers, respectively, and provides global recognition of the quality systems RTI has employed for more than two decades of proficiency testing.
“Our staff members continually ensure that RTI’s quality and management systems are in full compliance with globally-recognized International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation quality standard,” said Bruce Harvey, director of RTI’s Microanalytical Sciences Department. “This recognition among accreditation bodies is critical as RTI expands its proficiency testing program involvement internationally.”
RTI has been conducting asbestos quality assurance and proficiency testing programs since 1980, including those administered by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the American Industrial Hygiene Association, and the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center.
RTI develops, characterizes, and distributes asbestos test samples on a quarterly or semi-annual basis, receives and evaluates the results of analysis of laboratory participants, and issues final reports to the client and the laboratories. In the past 30 years, RTI has distributed more than 250,000 asbestos proficiency testing samples to analytical laboratories in nearly all 50 states and more than a dozen countries. The value of contracts for proficiency testing program support over those years totals more than $16 million.
RTI maintains optical and electron microscopy labs to support its proficiency testing program activities. Its geologists and microscopists are also active in asbestos test method development and evaluation, applied asbestos research, and a wide array of microanalysis services for a broad portfolio of government, commercial and RTI-internal clients.