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After years of discussion and several drafts, ASTM Committee E36 on Criteria for the Evaluation of Testing and Inspection Agencies established a new standard for terminology related to laboratory accreditation. Laboratory accreditation has been defined as a formal recognition that a testing laboratory is competent to carry out specific tests or specific types of tests. Twenty-seven other terms have been defined. Among the more difficult issues to resolve were the definitions for general criteria versus generic criteria and specific criteria, calibration versus standardization, laboratory assessment versus evaluation, and laboratory quality assurance and quality control. This paper discusses the formulation of the current definitions and some of the issues involved, identifies terms which have yet to be defined, and indicates a future course that the terminology subcommittee may take.
accreditation, laboratory, terminology
Manager, Laboratory Accreditation, American Association for Laboratory Accreditation, Gaithersburg, MD