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Quality is a Lousy Idea-. If it’s Only an Idea. Quality Assurance vs. Quality Control. Quality Assurance. Quality Control. A series of analytical measurements used to assess the quality of the analytical data (The “tools”). An overall management plan to guarantee the

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quality is a lousy idea

Quality is a Lousy Idea-

If it’s Only an Idea

quality assurance vs quality control
Quality Assurance vs. Quality Control

Quality Assurance

Quality Control

A series of


measurements used

to assess the

quality of the

analytical data

(The “tools”)

An overall

management plan to

guarantee the

integrity of data

(The “system”)

true value vs measured value
True Value

The known, accepted value of a quantifiable property

Measured Value

The result of an individual’s measurement of a quantifiable property

True Value vs. Measured Value
accuracy vs precision

How well a measurement agrees with an accepted value


How well a series of measurements agree with each other

Accuracy vs. Precision
systematic vs random errors
Systematic Error

Avoidable error due to controllable variables in a measurement.

Random Errors

Unavoidable errors that are always present in any measurement. Impossible to eliminate

Systematic vs. Random Errors
quality control measures
Quality Control Measures
  • Standards and Calibration
  • Blanks
  • Recovery Studies
  • Precision and Accuracy Studies
  • Method Detection Limits
  • NJQLs
standards and calibration
Standards and Calibration
  • Prepared vs. Purchased Standard
  • Signals: Peak Area, Beer’s Law
  • Calibration Curves
  • Continuing Calibration Checks
  • Internal Standards
  • Performance Testing.
calibration curves

The concentration of the analyte


Calibration Curves

Graphical representation of the relationship between:

  • The analytical signal
continuing calibration verification
Continuing Calibration Verification
  • Many methods don’t require that daily calibration curves are prepared
  • A “calibration verification” is
  • analyzed with each batch of samples
sample batch
Sample Batch
  • 10 - 20 samples (method defined) or less
  • Same matrix
  • Same sample prep and analysis
  • Contains a full set of
  • QC samples
internal standards
Internal Standards
  • A compoundchemically similar to the analyte
  • Not expected to be present in the sample
  • Cannot interfere in the analysis
  • Added to the calibration standards and to the samples in identical amounts.
internal standards1
Internal Standards
  • Refines the calibration process
  • Analytical signals for calibration standards are compared to those for internal standards
  • Eliminates differences in random and systematic errors between samples and standards
performance testing
Performance Testing


Blind samples submitted to laboratories



Labs must periodically analyze with acceptable results in order to maintain accreditation

blanks blanks blanks
Blanks, Blanks, Blanks
  • Laboratory Reagent Blanks
  • Instrument Blanks
  • Field Reagent Blanks
  • Trip Blanks
laboratory reagent blanks
Laboratory Reagent Blanks
  • Contains every reagent used in the analysis
  • Is subjected to all analytical procedures
  • Must give signal below detection limit
  • Most methods require one with every batch
instrument blank
Instrument Blank
  • A clean sample (e.g., distilled water) processed through the instrumental steps of the measurement process; used to determine instrument contamination.
field reagent blanks
Field Reagent Blanks
  • Prepared in the lab, taken to the field
  • Opened at the sampling site, exposed to sampling equipment, returned to the lab.
trip blanks
Trip Blanks
  • Prepared in the lab, taken to the field
  • Not opened
  • Returned to the lab
  • Not always required in EPA methods
recovery studies
Recovery Studies
  • Matrix Spikes
  • Laboratory Control Samples
  • Surrogates .
matrix spikes
Matrix Spikes
  • Sample spiked with a known amount of analyte
  • Subjected to all sample prep and analytical procedures
  • Determines the effect of the matrix on analyte recovery
  • Normally one per batch
laboratory control sample
Laboratory Control Sample
  • Analyte spiked into reagent water
  • Subjected to all sample prep and
  • analytical procedures
laboratory control sample1
Laboratory Control Sample

Also known as:

  • Laboratory Fortified Blank (LFB)
  • Quality Control Sample (QCS)
  • Similar to an internal standard
  • Added to all analytical samples, and to all QC samples to monitor method performance, usually during sample prep
  • Methods often have specific surrogate recovery criteria
  • Most common in Organic methods
quality control measures1
Quality Control Measures
  • Standards and Calibration
  • Blanks
  • Recovery Studies
  • Precision and Accuracy Studies
  • Method Detection Limits
  • NJQLs
precision and accuracy
Precision and Accuracy
  • Required for initial certification and annually thereafter
  • A series of four laboratory control samples
  • Must meet accuracy (recovery) and precision (standard deviation) requirements, often in method
precision and accuracy1
Precision and Accuracy
  • Required with a change in instrumentation or personnel
  • Specific to the analyst
  • Other names include:


method detection lim it
Method Detection Limit

“The minimum concentration of a substance that can be measured and reported with 99% confidence that the analyte concentration is greater than zero”

N.J.A.C 7:18 - 1.7

method detection limit
Method Detection Limit
  • MDLs are determined according to 40 CFR, part 136, Appendix B
  • Seven replicate laboratory control samples, analyzed for precision
  • Multiply standard deviation by 3.14 (Student’s t- value)
method detection limit1
Method Detection Limit
  • Must be performed initially for certification
  • Must meet criteria specified in method
  • Must be performed with change in instrumentation or test method
  • Annually with ELCP
new jersey quantitation limits njqls
New Jersey Quantitation Limits(NJQLs)
  • The minimum concentration of an analyte that can be quantified with statistical confidence
  • 5 x MDL, for the NJ Lab Certification Program