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Comments Requested on Plan to Harmonize U.S. Lab Accreditation with International Standards

In an effort to improve acceptance of U.S. products in foreign markets, the National Institute of Standards and Technology is requesting comments on proposed changes to federal regulations on the operation of the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program.

NIST is proposing to make NVLAP fully compatible with the international standards used by other accreditation systems in the European Community and worldwide for laboratory accreditation and quality systems management.

Established in 1976, NVLAP is a U.S. voluntary system whereby organizations and individuals request NIST to establish a laboratory accreditation program.  On an individual basis, laboratories seek accreditation for having the competence to use specific test methods.

Under the proposed changes, NVLAP procedures will be revised and expanded to include the accreditation of calibration laboratories; compatibility with conformity assurance and assessment concepts (product acceptance); and assurance that accreditation is consistent with relevant International Organization for Standardization documents such as ISO Guide 25, General Requirements for the Technical Competence of Testing Laboratories and the ISO 9000 Standard Series on quality management and assurance.

NIST NVLAP Program Chief Albert D. Tholen points out that the proposed changes are aimed at facilitating and promoting acceptance of calibration and test results between countries to avoid barriers to trade.

For information on the proposed changes to the federal regulations on NVLAP procedures, contact Albert D. Tholen,  chief, NVLAP, A162 Building 411, NIST, Gaithersburg, Md. 20899-0001, (301) 975-4016, fax:  (301) 926-2884.  Written
comments on the published proposed rule must be received by no later than Oct. 11, 1993.

NIST, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department's Technology Administration, aims to help industry strengthen its competitiveness.  Through research, services, grants and outreach programs, NIST helps industry in developing, adapting and commercializing technologies that lead to greater productivity, higher quality, and new and improved products and services.

Released August 20, 1993, Updated November 27, 2017