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August 2020

This Standards Bulletin from the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science provides an update on:

  • Standards moving through the OSAC Registry approval process.
  • Standards moving through the development process at standards developing organizations (SDOs).

New standards placed on the OSAC Registy: 0

OSAC Registry documents open for comment: 6

SDO documents open for comment: 7

Download PDF (380.55 KB)

OSAC Registry Updates

OSAC Registry Ribbon

The OSAC Registry serves as a repository of scientifically sound forensic science standards that address discipline-specific forensic science needs. OSAC elevates standards to the OSAC Registry as an endorsement of the document’s high quality and to encourage its use by relevant stakeholders in the forensic science community.

Intent to Add to the OSAC Registry - Items Open for Comment

The following SDO published standards are being considered for the OSAC Registry. Please submit your comments by 11:59 p.m. ET on September 4, 2020 on whether they should be included on the OSAC Registry:

  • ASTM E1388-17 Standard Practice for Static Headspace Sampling of Vapors from Fire Debris Samples. Submit your comments here

  • ASTM E1412-19 Standard Practice for Separation of Ignitable Liquid Residues from Fire Debris Samples by Passive Headspace Concentration with Activated Charcoal. Submit your comments here

  • ASTM E1413-19 Standard Practice for Separation of Ignitable Liquid Residues from Fire Debris Samples by Dynamic Headspace Concentration onto an Adsorbent Tube. Submit your comments here.

  • ASTM E3189-19 Standard Practice for Separation of Ignitable Liquid Residues from Fire Debris Samples by Static Headspace Concentration onto an Adsorbent Tube. Submit your comments here.

The following “OSAC Proposed Standards” are being considered for the OSAC Registry. Submit your comments/suggestions on the wording included in these draft standards and indicate whether they should be included on the OSAC Registry. To submit your feedback, complete the OSAC comment template and send it to forensics [at] (forensics[at]nist[dot]gov) by 11:59 p.m. ET on September 4, 2020. 

In the Comment Adjudication Phase

At FSSB for Vote

For a list of all standards currently under Registry consideration, please visit the OSAC website.

Has your organization already started implementing the OSAC Registry standards? 

Complete OSAC's Laboratory Implementation Declaration Form and send it to mark.stolorow [at] (mark[dot]stolorow[at]nist[dot]gov) to let us know. Share your implementation experience and be featured in a future OSAC news post.

SDO Updates


The American Academy of Forensic Sciences Standards Board (ASB) has recently published two new documents:

  • ANSI/ASB Standard 018, Standard for Validation of Probabilistic Genotyping Systems, First Edition, 2020. This standard, initially developed by OSAC’s Biological Data Interpretation & Reporting Subcommittee and finalized by ASB’s DNA Consensus Body, provides an essential framework for forensic laboratories validating a probabilistic genotyping system for the interpretation of autosomal STRs. Forensic laboratories that already use a probabilistic genotyping system can review their validation for compliance with this standard and supplement their previous validation where necessary.
  • ANSI/ASB Best Practice Recommendation 089, Best Practice Recommendation for Facial Approximation in Forensic Anthropology, First Edition, 2020. This document, initially developed by OSAC’s Anthropology Subcommittee and finalized by the ASB Anthropology Consensus Body, provides guidance for facial approximation from skeletal remains. The production and assessment of facial approximations using skeletal remains represents a combination of varied methods of art and anatomical science that continue to evolve. Therefore, recommendations for specific techniques are not addressed. Facial imaging procedures such as composite drawings and postmortem imaging from photographs are not addressed.

Comment Period Open on Draft Documents


*Comments on a re-circulations will only be accepted on revised sections of a document. Comments made to text not revised from the original comment period will not be accepted.

For the ASB documents listed above, download the comment template and return it to asb [at] (asb[at]aafs[dot]org) by the comment deadline.

Work Proposals for New or Revised Standards

The following documents are being initiated and are expected to result in a new or revised standard.


  • On July 31, 2020 a Project Initiation Notification System (PINS) was published on page 30 in the ANSI Standards Action. This will begin a 30-day period for public comment on the initiation of ASB’s work on the following documents:
    • BSR/ASB BPR 143-202x, Best Practice Recommendations for Technical Review in Friction Ridge Examination. This document provides best practice recommendations for conducting technical reviews of friction-ridge impression examinations and general guidance on best practices for technical reviews, including a checklist and sample review forms. This document does not address administrative review or verification.
    • BSR/ASB Std 145-202x, Standard for Consultation during Friction Ridge Examination. This standard sets documentation, quality, and consultant requirements for consultations during friction-ridge examinations. This document does not apply to conflict resolution.

Other News

Three-Part Webinar Series on Biology/DNA Standards and Best Practices

Graphic of computer and webinar participant

Join OSAC, ASB and Promega for a three-part webinar series that will provide information on new/emerging standards and best practice recommendations for forensic biology and DNA testing laboratories. 

  • Development and Publication of New Standards and Best Practices – The Process (Part 1) – available on-demand
  • Mixture Interpretation Validation, and Protocol Development and Verification (Part 2) – Wednesday, August 5
  • Training Standards Overview (Part 3) – Wednesday, September 9 

Register for the series here

Development of the Term "Exclusionary Difference" and a More Uniform Use of Spectral Comparison Language

Read more from Diana Wright, chair of OSAC’s Materials (Trace) Subcommittee, in the July 2020 issue of the American Society of Trace Evidence Examiners (ASTEE) Newsletter, page 11, regarding a brief history of the evolution of the terms used to describe the differences between items being compared from “significant” to “meaningful” to “exclusionary differences.”

Get Involved with OSAC

OSAC offers a variety of ways for members, affiliates and other experts in the forensic science community to participate in the standards advancement process. Click here to learn how you can help make an impact on the forensic science community through standards.