Transforming Laboratory Reference Materials into a “Standard Standards” Program

Oral Presentation

Prepared by M. Bruce1, J. Fisher2, T. Sprenkle2, J. Konschnik2, C. Carter3, R. Burrows4
1 - TestAmerica, 4101 Shuffel St NW, North Canton, OH, 44720, United States
2 - Restek, 110 Benner Circle, Bellefonte, PA, 16823, United States
3 - TestAmerica, 3275 Tioga Way, Las Vegas, NV, 89117, United States
4 - TestAmerica, 4955 Yarrow St, Arvada, CO, 80002, United States

Contact Information:; 330-966-7267


Diversity in a national network of environmental laboratories is the norm. Most of a laboratory network’s laboratories were founded to service their local clients, hence there is great diversity of analyte lists and only moderate consistency from lab to lab. This inconsistency hinders moving samples within the network for sample load balancing. It also affects a laboratory’s ability to provide consistent service when working with clients who utilize multiple laboratories within a network.

Some national lab networks have benefitted from successfully standardizing their higher volume chemical supplies such as solvents and acids. Improved product quality, consistency and cost have been their reward for such efforts. The authors propose expanding this standardization effort to calibration and spiking reference materials should yield similar benefits. In fact, not only do the laboratories benefit, but also their customers who purchase their testing services.

This presentation will discuss the benefits of standardizing laboratory calibration materials including easier sharing of samples within a network, reduced uncertainty, known stability and consistent, well-defined product quality. Also discussed is selecting the ideal vendor-partner with the necessary expertise and capabilities to successfully execute such a program. An improved definition for the use of second source reference materials for calibration verification will be presented along with describing how using the same reference materials provider also improves network troubleshooting by enhancing root cause analysis and reduced costs across the network.

The overall process of developing and implementing a Standard Standards program will be discussed. While the level of effort to achieve this level of network standardization is significant, it is worth the effort when service for large or national clients is a top priority.