Accurate data is essential for effective decision-making. Whether evaluating if food or water is safe for consumption, a site requires environmental cleanup, an industrial wastewater meets a discharge requirement, or a pharmaceutical ingredient is of sufficient purity, high quality representative data must be collected to ensure that appropriate decisions are made and costly mistakes are avoided.

While applying an appropriate analytical method to samples is necessary for generating accurate results, by itself it is not sufficient. Collecting and storing samples appropriately, in a manner to prevent inadvertent contamination, is just as essential. After all, even state-of-the-art analytical techniques cannot correct for random biases introduced during sample collection. Brooks Applied Labs (BAL) has extensive experience consulting with clients on proper sample collection techniques for trace metals and offering ultra-clean, pre-tested sampling equipment to support your project needs.

Avoiding common sources of contamination is an important first step when sampling. BAL’s experienced staff can provide guidance on which types of equipment to use and which to avoid. Certain materials have a higher risk of being contaminated with the analytes of interest (e.g., metals in colored plastics or in many types of glass) and, therefore, should be avoided when possible.

Verifying that the equipment used for sample collection and storage are fit-for-purpose is just as critical. BAL can ensure that your equipment meets your data quality objectives by cleaning it in our Equipment Decontamination Clean Room. This portion of our laboratory is fed by HEPA-filtered air and contains large vats of nitric and hydrochloric acids that are used for cleaning a variety of supplies, including sample containers, carboys, tubing, filters, and bailers. You name it, we most likely can clean it!

Our rigorous cleaning processes involve soaking items in acid for several days, followed by testing to demonstrate they are certified clean down to BAL’s ultra-low reporting limits. Upon request, BAL can even provide Certificates of Analysis to document that supplies are clean for trace metals use. Because these processes can take days to weeks to complete, depending on the number and type of supplies required, we strongly recommend contacting us early in your project setup. Whatever industry you work for or with, Brooks Applied Labs can help your project start with success!