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Proficiency Analytical Testing (PAT) program February 1998.

Esche CA; Groff JH
Am Ind Hyg Assoc J 1998 Nov; 59(11):821-822
The Proficiency Analytical Testing Program is a collaborative effort of the American Industrial Hygiene Association and researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The PAT Program provides quality control reference samples to over 1200 occupational health and environmental laboratories in 17 countries. Although one objective of the PAT Program is to evaluate the analytical ability of participating laboratories, the primary objective is to assist these laboratories in improving their laboratory performance. Each calendar quarter (designated as a round) samples are mailed to participating laboratories, and the data are analyzed to evaluate laboratory performance on a series of analyses. Each mailing and subsequent data analysis is completed in time for participants to obtain repeat samples and to correct analytical problems before the next calendar quarter starts. The PAT Program currently includes four sets of samples as shown in Table IV. A mixture of 3 of the 4 possible metals, and 1 to 3 of the 15 possible organic solvents, are rotated for each round. Fibers alternate between amosite and chrysotile asbestos and man-made fibers; no fiber mixtures are provided. Each set consists of four concentrations and a blank. The metals, silica, and fiber samples are on filters, and the organic solvents are on charcoal, carbon molecular sieve, or silica gel tubes. The organic solvent set also includes five blank charcoal, carbon molecular sieve, or silica gel tubes for desorption efficiency determination. Laboratories are evaluated for each analysis by comparing their reported results against an acceptable performance limit for each PAT Program sample the laboratory analyzes. After the data from all laboratories are collected and statistically treated, the mean of the collected data is calculated, and the performance limits equal the mean standard deviations. Data are acceptable if they fall within the performance limits. Data falling outside the performance limits are re- ported as outliers. Laboratories are rated based on performance in the PAT Program over the last year (i.e., four calendar quarters), as well : as on individual contaminant performance. Individual contaminants are metals, silica, asbestos/fibers, and organic solvents. Individual contaminant performance is rated as (1) proficient if all results have been reported and all are classified as acceptable for the last two consecutive rounds; and (2) proficient in all other cases if three- fourths or more of the results reported in the last four consecutive rounds are classified as acceptable.(l)
Quality-control; Quality-standards; Standards; Laboratories; Laboratory-techniques; Laboratory-workers; Data-processing; Metals; Solvents; Fiber-deposition; Filters; Statistical-analysis
HHS/PHS/CDC/NIOSH, Robert A Taft Laboratories, 4676 Columbia Parkway (MS/R8), Cincinnati, OH 45225
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American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal
Page last reviewed: September 22, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division