The National Lead Laboratory Accreditation Program (NLLAP)

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What is NLLAP?

If you are a homeowner or prospective buyer of a home, or an owner or manager of a school or building, the presence of lead could be a concern and collection and analysis of potenial sources of lead may be necessary. EPA established the National Lead Laboratory Accreditation Program (NLLAP) to recognize laboratories that demonstrate the ability to accurately analyze paint chip, dust, or soil samples for lead. Fixed-site laboratories, mobile laboratories, and testing firms that operate portable equipment are all eligible to obtain EPA recognition through NLLAP. An organization may choose to be recognized for one, two, or all three of the sample types (paint chips, dust, and soil) in NLLAP.

Find an EPA-accredited laboratory for lead sample analysis.

When Must Samples Be Analyzed by a Laboratory Recognized by EPA?

In states and tribal lands where EPA is operating a federal Lead-Based Paint Activity program, any dust samples collected in a risk assessment, lead hazard screen, or clearance after a lead abatement must be analyzed by a laboratory or testing firm recognized by EPA under NLLAP.

In many states or tribal lands where the state or tribe is operating an EPA-authorized program, the same requirement for analysis of dust samples by an NLLAP-recognized laboratory or testing firm is in place. However, a state or tribe may have testing regulations that differ from the EPA requirements, even though the overall program is authorized by EPA. To be sure what the requirements are, check with the state or tribal program where you want to do sampling. For information on whether your state or tribe has a federal Lead-Based paint Activity program or a EPA-authorized state/tribal program, access the most current state and tribal authorization map (PDF) or call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323).

It is possible for a city or other local government to have its own additional regulations, so check in your locality as well for any testing requirements. In additional, a private invidual may wish to have samples tested for lead. Find an EPA-accredited laboratory for lead sample analysis.

How Does NLLAP Work?

NLLAP provides the public with a list of laboratories that have met EPA requirements and demonstrated the capability to accurately analyze paint chips, dust, or soil samples for lead. All laboratories recognized by NLLAP are required to undergo on-site audits conducted by accrediting organizations participating in NLLAP, and to perform successfully on a continuing basis in the Environmental Lead Proficiency Analytical Testing (ELPAT) Program. ELPAT is a laboratory performance proficiency testing program mandated by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA).

Laboratories and other testing firms on the NLLAP list follow the Laboratory Quality System Requirements (LQSR), version 3 (PDF) developed by EPA. The LQSR identifies the minimum requirements for use by accreditation organizations when evaluating laboratories performing environmental testing activities under NLLAP. It is based on requirements of the International Organization for Standardization and International Electrochemical Commission (ISO/IEC) Standard 17025:2005(E), "General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories."

Other organizations, including states, may apply to EPA to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with EPA to become accrediting organizations in NLLAP. EPA has developed a Model Memorandum of Understanding (PDF) for other potential NLLAP accrediting organizations.

EPA currently recognizes five organizations as accrediting bodies for NLLAP that accredit laboratories for lead sample analysis. They are:

To apply for accreditation as a lead sample analysis laboratory under NLLAP, contact one of these five accrediting bodies.

What Other Information is Available on NLLAP?

Other reports and documents related to NLLAP are listed below. These can be obtained by following the links below and accessing the documents on-line.