First, what is AIHA EMLAP accreditation?
AIHA EMLAP are acronyms for the American Industrial Hygiene Association’s Environmental Microbiology Laboratory Accreditation Program. Specifically the accreditation is a quality assurance/quality control program that is based on the international standard for laboratories, ISO/IEC 17025. In most major countries, ISO/IEC 17025 is the standard which laboratories must adhere to in order to be deemed technically competent.
Although we have participated in and maintained proficient status with the AIHA EMPAT program continuously through the years, Moldlab, Ltd. only recently applied for the lab accreditation. The difference between proficient status and accredited status is a bit like the difference between organic tomatoes and certified organic tomatoes. If you’ve been buying organic tomatoes from a farmer and his family for years, you already know that they really are organic. If you move away, though, you might not trust the farmers in your new area to really produce organic tomatoes.
This is where the ‘certified’ part comes in to play; certification provides third party validation of the farmer’s practices. So now even though you haven’t met the new farmer face to face or shook his/her hand out in the field, you are confident that the product you are purchasing is indeed organic. So AIHA accreditation is a bit like the ‘certified organic’ tomato sticker for our lab. Okay, admittedly this not a direct “apples-to-apples” analogy, but I tried.
So why now?
Quite frankly it’s very expensive for the initial accreditation and also fairly costly to maintain annually. We would have loved to get this accreditation earlier, but its expense was prohibitive. With that being said our focus has always been to provide the best service we can for our clients and part of this service is helping our clients succeed. We understand that some projects and contracts have special requirements and we want to do our part to help procure these contracts for our clients. Moldlab, Ltd. also maintains supplemental lab certifications from WBE, HUB, SBA, GSA, and direct technician certification (PAACB), none of which are required to perform mold analytical services. As with all of these certifications, we gained AIHA accreditation to improve our service to you, our clients.
We began preparing for accreditation about this time last year and slowly updated our forms, reports, documentation etc. to comply with the ISO guidelines. Our AIHA site visit inspection was this past December and our assigned auditor was incredibly knowledgeable and helpful. The entire process from application to final award has been a learning process, stressful at times, but overall a very positive experience.
Our analysis techniques and processes have not changed. In fact the only things that you may have noticed changed recently are:
- The calculated concentration(s) on air reports is now two significant figures
- The wording in disclaimers
- The addition of minimum reporting limits
- The stopping rule is now 100 spores
- New ASTM compliant chain of custody
As business owner, I am incredibly proud of how our staff approached each and every challenge presented and how they truly exceeded my expectations over and over again throughout the entire process. As a result of all of their hard work, Moldlab, Ltd. is now AIHA EMLAP accredited!
*****We have another big new service announcement scheduled very soon! *****