Maine CDC Press Release

April 14, 2005

Lab Earns New National Accreditation

Michael Norton, Director
Public & Media Relations
Dept. of Health & Human Services
11 State House Station
Augusta, ME
Tel: (207) 287-3707
TTY: (207) 287-4479

The Maine Department of Health and Human Service’s Public Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory has earned a valuable national accreditation for its forensic chemistry section.

The American Society of Crime Lab Directors certified that Maine’s lab meets or exceeds national standards for forensic testing in the areas of controlled substances and toxicology.

“This accreditation gives Maine stronger capacity in the important area of forensic testing,” said Jack Krueger, director of the lab. “It also is an honor and a credit to the experience, professionalism and quality work of our forensic chemistry section and the lab as a whole.”

The American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors’ Laboratory Accreditation Board offers accreditation to forensic laboratories that show strict compliance to rigorous quality standards. The criteria address all areas of a lab’s operation, including management, personnel training and qualifications, technical operations, evidence handling, proficiency testing, lab security, and health and safety. An outside team inspects the lab seeking accreditation to evaluate compliance. Accreditation is voluntary. Maine’s Public Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory forensic section sought accreditation because it represents the highest standard in the forensic industry.

“The work to prepare and achieve this standard unfolded over several years and represents the strong commitment of the lab’s professionals to be leaders in their field,” said John R. Nicholas, commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services. “I want to congratulate the lab for this latest demonstration of commitment to the health and safety of Maine people.”

The Public Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory’s forensic chemistry section provides professional forensic services, including unbiased scientific examination and analysis of evidentiary material and property, supervision and management of specific technical programs, assistance in scientific investigations, expert testimony concerning the analyses performed, the interpretation of technical data and laboratory findings, and other related forensic services and activities to all criminal justice agencies throughout the State of Maine.

The laboratory, which is part of the Department’s Bureau of Health, has critical responsibilities in testing related to potential infectious diseases and environmental hazards. The lab’s three scientific subspecialties are microbiology, environmental chemistry, and forensics.

The Public Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory joins the State Police Crime Laboratory as the only two labs in Maine with the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors accreditation.

Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services works to enhance the health, safety and independence of all Maine people. Its MaineCare program provides health insurance to more than 260,000 people. Other initiatives protect public health, advance social and economic independence, and support preventative, protective, and public health services for children, families, and adults, including those with cognitive and physical disabilities.