Analytical Services

A responsibility of the NIOH is to promote occupational health practice through the provision of appropriate specialized support services. This applies specifically to the supply of a specialized analytical laboratory service to support the practice of occupational medicine and hygiene.

Analytical Services makes available to a wide range of users analytical services in occupational hygiene, biological monitoring, and some clinical laboratory tests. The services include consultations on the appropriate collection of samples; measurement of selected contaminants from environmental and biological samples collected from the workplace and from workers. An additional function of the Section is to contribute to research and health hazard evaluations and to provide training to under- and post-graduate students.

We provide analysis of workplace contaminants in biological and environmental samples for toxic metals, organic substances and persistent organic pollutants.

Through accreditation with the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS), we operate within the ISO 15189:2007,  and since November 2016,  ISO/IEC 17025-2005. So far 25 tests are accredited and the laboratory intends to increase this number and include all tests routinely offered for testing.

The SANAS accredited tests are as follows:

  • 2,5 – Hexanedione in urine (n-hexane exposure)
  • Whole Blood Cobalt
  • Cobalt in urine
  • Nickel in urine
  • Water Mercury
  • Water Aluminium
  • Serum Aluminium
  • Urine Arsenic
  • Whole Blood Arsenic
  • Urine Creatinine
  • Whole Blood Cadmium
  • Urine Cadmium
  • Urine Chromium
  • Whole Blood Chromium
  • Whole Blood Lead
  • Urine Lead
  • Urine Manganese
  • Whole Blood Manganese
  • Whole Blood Mercury
  • Urine Mercury
  • Urine Mandelic Acid (Styrene exposure)
  • Urine Methyl Hippuric acid (Xylene exposure)
  • Urine o-Cresol (Toluene exposure)
  • Urine Phenol (Benzene exposure)

As required by the quality management system the laboratory participates in a number of local and  international External Quality Assurance (EQA) schemes. The local EQA schemes we participate in are:

  • South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) Water Check, Proficiency Testing Scheme for all trace elements in water samples, and
  • National Metrology Institute of South Africa (NMISA), Proficiency Testing Scheme for alcohol in blood

The international EQA Schemes we participate in are:

  • Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health for Trace Elements in Whole Blood, Urine and Aluminium in Serum
  • German External Quality Assurance Scheme, Inter-comparison programme for toxicological analyses in biological materials

New tests are being developed as demand requires and if you require a test that does not appear in the above list provided please inquire with one of the contacts below.

For more Information about the Analytical Services Section, contact:

Head of Section
Dr Boitumelo Kgarebe
Tel: +27(0)11-712-6410
Fax: +27(0)11-712-6533

Organics Laboratory
Dr Puleng Matatiele
Tel: +27(0)11-712-6477
Fax: +27(0)11-712-6533

Metals Laboratory
Mr Poobalan Poongavanum
Tel: +27(0)11-712-6414
Fax: +27(0)11-712-6533