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The quality of chemical analysis is seriously impeded when no written procedures are available. There is a gap in the traceability of the results between specimen submitted and results reported. Documentation of the analysis is incomplete. The recipient of the results, who must draw conclusions about his materials from those results, relies solely on the reputation of the laboratory or the analyst who made the analyses in judging the quality of the results. Written procedures close the quality gap by revealing the method by which the results were obtained.
In order to become accredited by an official agency, a laboratory must prove its ability to provide quality analyses. Proof includes qualified personnel, calibrated equipment, a system of records, and written procedures. Examples of accredited laboratories are those clinical laboratories licensed by the Center for Disease Control to accept human specimens through interstate commerce.
Useful written procedures include certain topics; among these are the scope or applicability and limitations, a list of materials, sampling practice, step-wise procedures, interpretations of results, and special forms to record the analysis. Each of these topics will be discussed.
accreditation, analytical method, calibration, chemical analysis, documents, quality, standardization, technical writing
Manager, Research Services, Gould Laboratories—Energy Research, Rolling Meadows, Ill.