Harmonization of internal quality tasks in analytical laboratories case studies : water analysis methods using polarographic and voltammetric techniques
Gumede, Njabulo Joyfull
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In this work, a holistic approach to validate analytical methods was assessed by virtue of Monte Carlo simulations. This approach involves a statement of the methodsÃ¢ s scope (i.e. analytes, matrices and concentration levels) and requisites (internal or external); selection of the methodÃ¢ s (fit-for-purpose) features; pre-validation and validation of the intermediate accuracy and its assessment by means of Monte Carlo simulations. Validation of the other methodÃ¢ s features and a validity statement in terms of a Ã¢ fit-for-purposeÃ¢ decision making, harmonized validation-control-uncertainty statistics and short-term routine work with the aim of proposing virtually Ã¢ ready-to-useÃ¢ methods. The protocol could be transferred to other methods. The main aim is to harmonize the work to be done by research teams and routine laboratories assuming that different aims, strategies and practical viewpoints exist. As a result, the recommended protocol should be seen as a starting point. It is necessary to propose definitive (harmonized) protocols that must be established by international normalisation/accreditation entities. The Quality Assurance (Method verification and Internal Quality Control, IQC) limits, as well as sample uncertainty were estimated consistently with the validated accuracy statistics i.e. E U (E) and RSDi + U (RSDi). Two case studies were used to assess Monte Carlo simulation as a tool for method validation in analytical laboratories, the first involves an indirect polarographic method for determining nitrate in waste water and the second involves a direct determination of heavy metals in sea water by differential pulse anodic stripping voltammetry, as an example of the application of the protocol. In this sense the uncertainty obtained could be used for decision making purposes as it is very tempting to use uncertainty as a commercial argument and in this work it has been shown that the smaller the uncertainty, the better the measurement of the instrument or the laboratoryÃ¢ s reputation.