Environmental Laboratory Standards: Key Updates

Introduction:

On June 19, 2024, the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change issued a significant amendment to the notification initially published on June 16, 2021, under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Consequently, this amendment, listed under S.O. 2409(E), introduces several critical changes aimed at improving the operations and recognition of Environmental Laboratory Standards.

Key Changes:

1. Expanded Definition: The term “private laboratories” has been expanded to “laboratories or institutes as environmental laboratories,” ensuring broader recognition of entities involved in environmental testing. This change aims to include more organizations, thereby enhancing the framework for environmental testing and compliance.

2. Recognition Period: The recognition period for laboratories is now set to three years. Moreover, this standardized period allows for regular review and ensures that laboratories maintain high standards over time.

3. Omission of Paragraph 4: The amendment omits Paragraph 4 of the previous notification, thereby streamlining the requirements and consequently focusing on essential criteria for laboratory operations and recognition.

4. Inter-laboratory Comparison and Proficiency Testing: Recognized laboratories must participate in inter-laboratory comparison exercises and proficiency testing programs. Moreover, providers certified under ISO/IEC: 17043 must conduct these programs and cover all recognition parameters within two years from the recognition date. Consequently, this requirement ensures that laboratories adhere to high-quality standards and maintain accuracy and reliability in their testing processes.

5. Public Access to Records: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is tasked with making the records and reports of these exercises available in the public domain. This transparency allows for public scrutiny and ensures accountability.

6. Applicable Fees: Recognized laboratories must pay the applicable fees for participating in the inter-laboratory exercises and proficiency testing programs, ensuring they are financially contributing to maintaining high standards.

Conclusion:

The government is enhancing environmental laboratory standards to ensure labs operate transparently and accountably. Additionally, Indian labs can now improve accuracy by participating in comparisons and adhering to global environmental laboratory standards, which are vital for environmental protection and policy-making.

Download: Environmental Laboratory Standards: Key Updates  


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