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Paul's company does a good amount of abrasive blasting. His safety and health consultant has recommended that three of Paul's employees wear sampling devices throughout a day to collect the particles in the air, and that the samples be sent to a laboratory so that Paul can know exactly how much silica his workers are breathing. His consultant has told him about three laboratories which can analyze the samples. The laboratory brochures provide some basic information:

Lab A Lab B Lab C
  • Analyzes using IR
  • Specializes in the analysis of crystalline silica in coal dust
  • Provides pre-weighed filters
  • Is accredited for quartz analysis
  • Costs the least
  • Analyzes using XRD
  • Specializes in industrial hygiene analysis including silica
  • Provides pre-weighed filters
  • Is accredited for industrial hygiene analysis
  • Costs twice as much as Lab A
  • Analyzes using XRD
  • Specializes in geological and environmental analysis including silica and silicates
  • Does not provide filters
  • Is not accredited
  • Costs about the same as Lab A

Which lab should Paul choose?

Lab A Lab B Lab C


















Lab A

This may not be the best choice. Even though Lab A does analyze samples for crystalline silica, Paul's samples do not involve coal dust. The IR method works well for quartz in coal dust, but Paul needs a method that will also provide data on other forms of crystalline silica. This laboratory is accredited which indicates that it does have a good quality assurance program in place, and it does analyze filters. If Paul chooses this lab he will want to make sure they can provide results for each of the separate forms of crystalline silica. Try Again








































Lab B

Good choice. Lab B does analyze samples by XRD, does analyze industrial hygiene (workplace) samples, and does provide the sampling media, all of which are essential to getting an accurate reading. In addition, the fact that they are accredited indicates that they have a good quality assurance program in place.

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Lab C

This may not be the best choice. Even though Lab C does analyze samples by XRD and specializes in silica analysis, it probably does not routinely analyze filter samples. Paul may want to find out more about its quality assurance program and its knowledge of his type of samples. Try Again
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