Quality Assurance Program

Paradigm’s data is of the highest possible quality. Our quality assurance program is rigorous and reflects our dedication to good practices and strong ethics. From our participation in proficiency testing to our in-house audit program to comprehensive training programs, Paradigm also routinely submits samples to additional cleanups and repeated analyses. Our goal is to make sure that our data is not merely compliant, but meaningful and usable.

  1. Blank – indicates the presence of contamination from: reagents, glassware, environment, other samples, etc.
  2. LCS – known clean matrix with added analytes at known concentrations. Indicates the completeness of the preparation procedures and expected analyte recovery when in a simple, well defined matrix.
  3. Matrix duplicates – indicates overall sample homogeneity. Sample specific – does not give information relevant to entire batch.
  4. Matrix spike – indicates analyte recovery for a specific sample in the presence of matrix interferences. Sample specific.
  5. Surrogates – for organic analyses – spiked compounds that are similar to the analytes of interest but are not the same. Indicates likely behavior of the similar analytes in the sample or QC matrix and can indicate extraction efficiency of those analytes.
  1. Instrument Calibration – determines the instrument response for a known concentration of analyte(s) such that a correlation may be developed which will allow the instrument to determine a concentration from an unknown sample.
  2. Internal Standards – known concentration of specific compounds which allow the results to be corrected for such things as differences in injection volume, etc.
  3. References – standards that are prepared from sources different from the calibration standards that indicate degradation of the calibration standards, or may also indicate errors in preparation of the calibration standards.
  4. Blanks – clean matrix injected at the instrument, used to indicate baseline drift, carryover, or other instrumental contamination.
  5. Interference standards – for instruments which have algorithms which calculate for analytical effects of known interferents, such as ICP. These standards are comprised of high concentrations of known interferents, possibly mixed with low concentration of other analytes. If the algorithm is functioning properly the recoveries of all analytes should be within method defined limits.
  1. Refrigerator temperatures – for sample preservation
  2. Microscope verification – for analytical accuracy
  3. Oven temperatures – for sample drying, or ashing
  1. Proficiency Testing – twice yearly testing required by regulatory agencies to verify the results obtained by one laboratory is within a statistically acceptable window.
  2. Interlaboratory analysis – a program where two laboratories are required to share samples, compare results, and investigate outliers with the intent of bringing overall laboratory analysis to a consistent level
  3. Internal audits – Audits performed internally to verify the laboratory is following procedures.
  4. Regulatory audits – every two years, performed by representatives of the accreditation agency to verify the laboratory is adhering to prescribed requirements.