Analytical Services

Analytical Services has increased its analytical capacity to meet the demand created by the promulgation of the Regulations for Hazardous Chemical Substances (over 700 listed agents in air and 37 substances in biological monitoring), and is constantly striving towards further development and better quality through an equipment replacement programme, training and working towards SANAS accreditation.

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 intents to increase this number and include all tests routinely offered for testing.

The SANAS accredited tests are as follows:

  • 1-Hydroxypyrene (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons exposure)
  • 2,5 – Hexanedione in urine (n-hexane exposure)
  • Cobalt in blood
  • Cobalt in urine
  • Nickel in urine
  • Water mercury
  • Water Aluminium
  • Serum aluminium
  • Urine arsenic
  • Blood arsenic
  • Urine creatinine
  • Whole blood cadmium
  • Urine cadmium
  • Urine chromium
  • 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 are:

  • SABS Water–Check, Proficiency Testing Scheme for all trace elements in water samples and
  • NMISA, Proficiency Testing Scheme for alcohol in blood

and the international EQA Schemes are:

  • Wadsworth Center, New York State Deparment of Health for Trace Elements in Whole Blood and Urine and Aluminium in Serum
  • LAMP Multielement (Lead, Cadmium, Mercury, Manganese)Proficiency for trace elements in whole blood, CDC, USA
  • German External Quality Assurance Scheme, Intercomparison programme for toxicological analyses in biological materials