A laboratory is a service unit which receives samples and provides analysis reports. The authenticity of reports is based on the expertise and ethical conduct of laboratory scientists. Each and every laboratory is a legal entity which has a right to register patents, publish findings but at same time can be held responsible for the results reported by it.
Types of laboratories
Laboratories are classified under different categories on the basis of their analysis objectives:
Commercial testing laboratories carry out analysis of samples received from clients and receive payments for services provided
Regulatory body laboratories constitute a chain of laboratories covered and controlled by national or international bodies which provide standard methods and certified reference materials which have international acceptance and traceability
In-house quality control laboratories are part of manufacturing organizations which certify the quality conformity of the manufactured goods
Research laboratories can be a part of academic institutions, universities, national level laboratories or research institutions under private ownership. Such laboratories conduct analytical studies in the areas of basic as well as applied research
Social cause laboratories provide analytical services for ensuring safe use of natural resources, consumer products such as pharmaceuticals, foods, environmental specimens, crime investigation, etc.
The analytical chemist serves mankind through the development of new materials and certifies the quality of manufactured goods as well as natural resources and agricultural produce for human consumption. The profession demands a high degree of integrity and ethical conduct which rests on
- Commitment to society
- Laboratory decisions should not be influenced by monetary inducements
- Judgments should be made based on professional knowledge and skills
- Laboratory staff should not succumb to pressures from clients or production departments to manipulate results
- Results of analysis should not be disclosed to unconcerned outside parties
- Laboratory tests and operating procedures should not be passed on to competitor laboratories
- Proficiency testing results should not be disclosed in advance to other participating laboratories
- Each employee should be made to sign a confidentiality agreement at time of joining employment
Commitment to society
- A chemist taking financial or other inducements and qualifying failed products is doing immeasurable harm to society
- Environmental controls and safety measures should be adhered to strictly to prevent exposure of a section of population to health hazards
- Laboratory wastage and discharge should be properly treated in accordance with the civic body regulations before disposal
All chemists who abide by the ethical code of conduct are making immense contribution to the welfare of humanity as well as upkeep of the quality of the natural environment. Their services deserve to be recognized and rewarded by their serving organizations as well national bodies.