The NYS DOH Proficiency Testing (PT) Program for Blood Lead was launched in the early 1970s as a regulatory tool to support childhood lead poisoning prevention programs. Over the subsequent four decades, the PT program expanded to include As, Cd, Hg, and Pb in whole blood and urine, and Al, Cu, Se, and Zn in serum. In 2015, the PT program transitioned from a regulatory program to a voluntary model to support biomonitoring measurements.
The mission of the Program is to achieve harmonization of trace element measurement data used for biomonitoring purposes.
Enrollment is open to all laboratories interested in producing high quality biomonitoring data. State public health laboratories that are members of the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) National Biomonitoring Network are especially welcome.
The Program is not a regulatory program and is not required for regulatory purposes.
The Program currently offers Trace Elements in whole blood, serum, and urine matrices. Samples (n=5 per matrix) are shipped three times a year with trace element concentrations relevant to human health and exposure.
Elements of interest by matrix
|Matrix||Graded based on fixed criteria||Additional elements for informational purposes (Mean ± 2SD)|
|Blood||As, Cd, Co, Cr, Hg, Mn, and Pb||Sb, Ba, Be, Cu, Mo, Ni, Pt, Se, Ag, Sr, Tl, Sn, Ti, W, U, V, and Zn|
|Urine||As, Ba, Be, Cd, Co, Cr, Hg, Pb, Mn, Tl, and U||Al, Sb, Cs, Cr, Co, Cu, Mo, Ni, Pt, Se, Sr, Te, Sn, W, V, and Zn|
|Serum||Al, Co, Cr, Cu, Se, and Zn||Sb, As, Be, Cd, Cr, Co, Pb, Mn, Hg, Mo, Ni, Pt, Sr, Tl, Sn, Ti, W, U, and V|
Graded elements only – definitions
- Pass/Fail: A result reported for a PT challenge sample can be graded as a pass (or fail) based on the quality specifications established for a given element and matrix. Quality specifications are the criteria used to define the acceptable range based on the analyte concentration and matrix; the quality specifications used by the NYS Biomonitoring PT Program are derived from established sources, including the Occupational and Environmental Laboratory Network (OELM).
- Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory: Performance on a specific PT event may be judged satisfactory if the participant achieves a score of 80% or better, i.e., achieving a “pass” for at least 4 out of 5 challenge samples.
- Successful/Unsuccessful: Successful PT status is achieved when a laboratory maintains satisfactory performance on two out of three consecutive PT events; for the purposes of this report, PT status is evaluated on a calendar basis.
PT Program Policies
- PT samples should be treated in the same manner as actual patient/study samples – follow internal QC procedures and report a single value.
- Participants may report as many, or as few, elements for each sample matrix (blood, serum or urine) received, consistent with the laboratory’s analytical capabilities.
- For PT purposes, only one method/instrument can be used to report a PT result. If a laboratory has multiple methods/instruments, then additional testing of PT samples can be performed after the event is closed.
- For any result that is below the laboratory’s limit of detection (LOD), report the numerical value that accompanies the “less than the LOD” statement. For example, if the LOD is <1.0 µg/L, then enter “< 1.0” on the template.
- Avoid using report codes or acronyms for results that are above the highest calibrator, or below the lowest calibrator, etc. For PT program purposes, report the numerical value with the appropriate qualifier.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to enroll.
Archived PT Reports
|Event 1||Event 2||Event 3|
|2023||April 2023||July 2023|
|2022||April 2022||August 2022||November 2022|
|2021||April 2021||September 2021||November 2021|
|2020||July 2020||October 2020||December 2020|
|2019||May 2019||August 2019||December 2019|
|2018||June 2018||September 2018||December 2018|
|2017||April 2017||September 2017||December 2017|
|2016||May 2016||September 2016||December 2016|