Conformity assessment refers to the techniques and activities that ensure that a product, process, service, system, material, person, body, or organization fulfills specified requirements. Accredited conformity assessment is the independent evaluation of conformity assessment bodies against standards to carry out specific activities to ensure their impartiality and competence. Therefore, accreditation can give regulators and consumers' confidence in certain products through test results and other reports provided.

Accreditation for laboratory testing and proficiency testing can play an important role in product stewardship and the comprehensive management of a product's lifecycle. Laboratory Accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 ensures the production of quality data for use in evaluating exposures that impact public health, the environment, and natural resources. Proficiency testing, an important management tool in accreditation, provides a snapshot of a laboratory’s analytical capability.

AIHA Laboratory Accreditation Programs, a full member of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and a signatory of the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA), and AIHA PAT Programs, an ISO/IEC 17043 accredited proficiency testing provider, evaluates and enhances laboratory testing, ensuring product stewards receive valid and reliable data.

Read on to learn how laboratory testing directly contributes to product stewardship.

1. Raw Material Validation:

Laboratory testing is fundamental in product stewardship, beginning with the rigorous validation of raw materials. This process ensures the quality of materials, prevents contamination, and upholds the integrity of the final product.

2. Product Safety Assurance:

Laboratory testing provides data to product stewards that helps identify potential health risks to workers, communities, and consumers. This ensures that products adhere to the highest safety standards and regulations.

3. Continuous Quality Assurance:

Throughout the manufacturing and distribution phases, laboratory testing provides ongoing assurance that products consistently meet and exceed established quality standards.

4. Environmental Impact Assessment:

Beyond immediate safety concerns, laboratory testing is a significant factor when evaluating environmental impacts. Product stewards use laboratory data to assess the ecological footprint of raw materials, intermediaries, and products, which contributes to overall sustainability efforts.

5. End-of-Life Considerations:

Laboratories play a crucial role in evaluating the recyclability and disposal aspects of products, contributing to environmentally conscious product lifecycle management.

6. Continuous Improvement Initiatives:

Laboratory testing data enhances continuous improvement activities by providing data used to refine manufacturing processes, fostering innovation, and enhancing overall product quality.

7. Supply Chain Management Integration:

Laboratories contribute to maintaining quality standards and aid in the selection of reliable suppliers and materials.

Laboratory testing serves as an integral piece of responsible and sustainable product stewardship actively shaping the functional aspects of a product's lifecycle. In essence, laboratory testing ensures excellence from design to disposal.

Please visit ILAC’s website at and both the Public Sector Assurance and Business Benefits websites to find case studies, research, and supporting materials demonstrating the benefits of accredited conformity assessment.