Organisers of EQAS for Occupational and
Environmental Laboratory Medicine
Occupational and Environmental Medicine involves the investigation of exposure to chemicals. This may be at work or from the general environment including food and water, the air we breathe, products used in the home or in the course of recreational activity. While over-exposure may cause illness, disability and even death, some chemicals are essential to well being. Thus, insufficient intakes of minerals, trace elements and vitamins can be equally harmful to health. In addition, there are exposures associated with clinical treatments, either directly as pharmaceuticals or indirectly as in the release of metals from joint implants, for example.
A fundamental feature of occupational and environmental medicine is the measurement of these chemicals in specimens such as blood or urine. The results are used to protect those working with toxic chemicals, to identify undue exposures from the natural environment, to detect deficiencies of essential nutrients and to monitor clinical exposures. This is especially important for vulnerable groups such as infants, pregnant and lactating women or the elderly or those working with highly toxic chemicals. It is vital, therefore, that the laboratory work should be carried out with an emphasis on ensuring accurate and consistent results. External Quality Assessment Schemes (EQAS) are one of the resources that help laboratories to achieve these goals. The objectives of the Network of organisers of EQA schemes in the field of occupational and laboratory medicine are to:
- Stimulate improvements in analytical data
- Establish conformity of assessment between Schemes
- Collaborate to enhance the practice of EQA
Members of the group are Organisers of External Quality Assessment Schemes in OELM from countries in Europe, North America and Asia. Organisers of Schemes in other countries are welcome to join. Initial contact may be made to Dr. Marina Patriarca (firstname.lastname@example.org). Various joint projects are organised and meetings are held once a year to review progress and consider ideas for any new work.
Five members of the Network (France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands) agreed to collaborate in the organisation of their schemes. In a federated approach they share samples, data-base and layout of the reports but remain as independent organisations with their own registration, user meetings and other support, and language. This federation is open to other national organisers to join. In this case, please contact Cas Weykamp (C.W.Weykamp@skbwinterswijk.nl)
The buttons on the left lead to
(i) a restricted area for the participants of Schemes to enter their results and to access reports of their performance.
(ii) general information on the Schemes available for occupational and environmental laboratory medicine and
(iii) details of projects and publications of the Network (available only in English)