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What is an ISO 17025 Accreditation (and Why Does it Matter)?

On April 23, 2019, Purafil was presented with its official International Organization of Standardization (ISO) 17025:2017 lab accreditation certificate. This accreditation effort was led by our Laboratory Operations Manager, Chelsea Newton, and establishes that our processes and procedures exceed the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation’s (A2LA) impeccable standards.

ISO 17025 accreditation is a big deal—to us. But how does it impact you? We’ve got that answer and more covered in this article. Let’s dive in.

The ISO is an international body responsible for creating, setting, and promoting standards for entire organizations and for swaths of individual products, services, systems, and environments. Their standards apply to organizations working in energy management, food safety, environmental management, laboratory testing, and beyond.

International experts work together to create these various sets of best practices, resulting in a codified approach by which organizations can operate and achieve either certification or accreditation.

The ISO itself does not certify or provide accreditation. Instead, its standards are used by independent organizations (such as A2LA) to authorize accreditation and certification.

ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation establishes that a calibration and testing laboratory—such as Purafil’s lab—demonstrates technical proficiency at a level that produces accurate calibration and testing data. This accreditation can apply to any size laboratory where measurable testing is performed.[1]

Any lab with this accreditation must be evaluated regularly to maintain their status. The standards set by ISO dictate that a calibration and testing lab maintain an impeccable quality management system in addition to best-in-class testing and calibration practices.

Achieving this accreditation demonstrates that the lab is operating a level above other laboratories of its type.

ISO 17025 is one of more than 24,000 ISO standards.[2] It only applies to testing and calibration labs. Companies who seek certification or accreditation must meet the specific ISO standards that apply to their business.

For example, ISO 17025 would not be applicable for an organization seeking accreditation for security within information technology. They would need to meet a different set of standards under a different ISO accreditation or certification.

However, ISO 17025 does not only apply to gas phase air filtration labs like Purafil’s. It applies to calibration and testing labs across multiple sectors. Forensic, chemical, food production labs and more can also apply for ISO 17025 accreditation.

The ISO is the internationally-recognized gold standard for best regulatory practices across many industries. To work with an ISO 17025 certified laboratory means you can trust the testing practices and the results are the best they can be. ISO standards are rigorous and require a lab to operate well above those without accreditation.

Accreditation is not required. However, without it a laboratory may operate by its own standard or none at all. Either of these ways of operating can lead to a lack of efficacy or reliability in test results. Some organizations, such as government bodies, require ISO 17025 accreditation before a partnership can occur.

ISO 17025 accreditation is a simple way to tell if a lab is trustworthy, competent, and consistent in their practices. Companies like Purafil who achieve this accreditation are certain to provide products and services that measure up to even the highest standards.

Quality testing practices and properly calibrated equipment produce better results. While Purafil has always been dedicated to a high standard of excellence, our ISO 17025 accreditation status affirms that our lab operates a class above the rest.

Let’s take a look at a few of the testing practices Purafil uses that have benefitted from our ISO accreditation.

Corrosion coupon testing

We measure Angstroms (very small) levels of corrosion built up over 30 days on the corrosion coupons submitted to our lab. We extrapolate the impact the environment will have on electronics over much longer stretches of time, so accurate measurements are critical for reliable results.

Q&A testing

We perform quality assurance testing on every batch of our filtration media before it is shipped to customers to ensure it matches our precise specifications. This includes testing crush strength, abrasion, density, and concentration of active ingredients. We do this to ensure proper performance when employed by the end user.

Our filtration media is relied on to protect critical equipment, prevent odors, and save employees and communities in the event of toxic gas releases. Purafil has implemented practices to ensure our media and subsequent testing are best-in-class. Our ISO 17025 status drives us to maintain an even more rigorous testing standard to ensure our test results are exact.

Media life analysis testing

All of our filtration media comes with technical support from our lab. This includes Media Life Analysis (MLA). Customers send several small samples to us and we perform testing to determine the remaining chemical reactivity in the sample. We send back an MLA report that details the percentage of life remaining and projects their needed replacement date based on how long it has been in use.

This can help identify any changes or unexpected problems with their installation, aids budgeting, and ensures there is not an unexpected breakthrough of problem gasses. This is especially critical for applications such as toxic gas.

This is why precision and accuracy in our lab procedures as well as proper sampling are critical. Calibration to this standard is possible without ISO standards in place, but highly unlikely.

  • Globally consistent data: ISO is a globally accepted organization. Accreditation not only means best practices are used to achieve results. It also means the results themselves are produced within an environment globally recognized as the gold standard.
  • Reputation matters: There are many testing labs out there. However, only a handful achieve ISO 17025 accreditation. To work with a company like Purafil whose lab upholds this standard means you align with their commitment to quality.
  • It separates good labs from great ones: It can be challenging to discern the best partner. Companies like Purafil who have ISO 17025 accredited labs sit above those without accreditation, making it easier to know who to work with.
  • Fewer mistakes: Many tasks are impeccably automated in an ISO 17025 accredited lab. In addition, accredited labs are required to keep their equipment calibrated to a standard that far exceeds uncredited labs. When elements like these combine, it results in better output, including more trustworthy products and services.
  • Continual improvement: ISO accreditation is not an end point. It’s an invitation to achieve even greater operating standards through continuous improvement—which Purafil is committed to. When you align with a company committed to this type of innovation, you can rely on them to elevate their quality even beyond the regulated standards over time.

Short answer? No. However, it is advisable to prioritize partnerships with ISO 17025 accredited labs over uncredited labs. Inaccurate test results are more likely without this accreditation, which can have serious consequences.

Purafil earned this accreditation through a series of process improvements including proper calibration of our equipment and a consistent testing procedure. Our decision to pursue accreditation has allowed us to achieve better quality management and lesser margins of error in testing results.

We’re dedicated to our customers. We want what’s best for them, and that includes pursuing ISO accreditation from A2LA. This decision is part of a multi-pronged effort to continue to provide best-in-class services and innovate new products.

We’ve always been committed to pushing the boundaries of excellence. This accreditation elevates us to a new, exclusive level and offers us more opportunity to pursue our mission to make the world safer, healthier, and more productive.

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