Chain of custody is a crucial process in laboratory analysis that ensures the accuracy, reliability, and integrity of test results. In laboratory analysis, the chain of custody refers to the tracking of samples from the moment they are collected to the moment they are analyzed, and the results are reported.
The chain of custody process begins with the collection of the sample by a trained and qualified professional. The sample collector must carefully document the sample's location, date, time of collection, and the identity of the person from whom the sample was collected. The collector must also ensure that the sample is appropriately labeled and stored to prevent contamination or tampering.
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Collect a small representative sample of material and place it in a self sealing plastic bag. For pipe insulation or similar friable materials, spray a light mist of water/detergent solution on the material before collecting the sample to minimize any dust. Samples should not be soaking wet. If there are sharp edges that may rip or tear the plastic bag, place it inside another plastic bag to minimize contamination during transport. If you are uncertain about your health and safety, contact us to conduct an inspection and collect samples of materials.
Samples should be approximately a teaspoon to tablespoonful or 2 square inches in size. Be sure to collect all layers of the material to be tested. Examples include:
- Floor tile, mastic, leveling compound, and any other layers of material (not including wood)
- Drywall, tape, and joint compound
- Roof flashing, felt, and shingles; roof patch material should be submitted separately.
If submitting more than one sample or a sample with multiple layers, provide a numbering system that uniquely describes each sample or layer of sample that you want analyzed:
- 1 A - Kitchen, brown sheet flooring with gray backing
- 1 B - Kitchen, white floor tile and mastic under sheet flooring
- 1 C - Kitchen, green floor tile and mastic under white floor tile
In the above example, an approximate 2-inch square sample of all the material could be collected and placed in one bag. The laboratory will separate the sample layers. Each layer (sheet/backing, floor tile, mastic) will be analyzed as separate samples in accordance with EPA method requirements.
See an example of a completed Sample Transmittal Record / Chain of Custody.
A blank Chain of Custody is provided as a downloadable form from our web site for your use.
The standard analysis turnaround time is 3-5 business days. Expedited analysis (one-hour, same-day, next-day, etc.) may require that an additional surcharge be applied to the analysis fee. Please contact us for laboratory analysis fees.