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Bullet casing SRM; Credit:NIST

Forensic Science Standards

NIST offers tools that help forensic crime laboratories validate their analytical methods and ensure accuracy in their test results. Some of the most popular Standard Reference Materials (SRMs) are listed below. For ordering information, go to http://www.nist.gov/srm/ordering.cfm.

The National Institute of Justice Standards and Testing Program develops and publishes equipment standards that specifically address the needs of law enforcement, corrections and other criminal justice agencies.

ASTM International develops standards for forensic science investigations. These apply to procedures for investigations of documents, gunshot residue, polygraph examinations, ignitable liquid residue extraction and others. See the ASTM Forensic Science Standards website. Please note that fees apply to ASTM standards.

The National Fire Protection Association develops codes and standards to prevent and manage the impact of fire disasters, including standards for arson investigators. See the NFPA list of codes and standards.

NIST Standard Reference Materials

Blood Alcohol

1828b Ethanol-Water Solutions
2891 Ethanol-Water Solution 0.02%
2892 Ethanol-Water Solution 0.04%
2893 Ethanol-Water Solution 0.08%
2894 Ethanol-Water Solution 0.1%
2895 Ethanol-Water Solution 0.2%
2896 Ethanol-Water Solution 0.3%
2897a Ethanol-Water Solution 2%
2898a Ethanol-Water Solution 6%
2899a Ethanol-Water Solution 25%
2900 Ethanol-Water Solution 95.6%

Crime Scene Investigation

2285 Arson Test Mixture in Methylene Chloride
2460 Standard Bullet
2461 Standard Cartridge Case
2905 Trace Particulate Explosive Stimulants
2906 Trace Explosives Calibrations Solutions
2907 Trace Terrorist Explosive Stimulants
8107 Additives in Smokeless Powder


2372 Human DNA Quantitation Standard
2391c PCR Based DNA Profiling Standard
2392 Mitochondrial DNA Sequencing
2392-I Mitochrondrial DNA Sequencing

Drugs of Abuse

1507b THC-COOH in Freeze-Dried Urine
1508a Benzoylecgonine (Cocaine Metabolite) in Freeze-Dried Urine
1511 Multi Drugs of Abuse in Urine
1959 Drugs of Abuse in Frozen Human Serum
2379 Drugs of Abuse in Human Hair I
2380 Drugs of Abuse in Human Hair II
2381 Morphine and Codeine in Urine
2382 Morphine Glucuronide in Urine
8444 Cotinine in Freeze-Dried Human Urine


Inventory of Forensic Databases and Reference Materials

In 2012, the Forensic Science Research Program, with sponsorship from the National Institute of Justice, conducted a survey of state and federal law enforcement agencies to develop a comprehensive list of databases, reference materials, and standard reference collections used by forensic scientists in laboratories at the state and local levels. The primary goal was to share information about existing data for forensic practitioners to share and use. The survey located 228 state, federal, and commercially run databases which are available to view here.