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NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LABORATORY ACCREDITATION CONFERENCE, BY LAWS, AND STANDARDS
Autry, L. NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LABORATORY ACCREDITATION CONFERENCE, BY LAWS, AND STANDARDS. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-03/049 (NTIS PB2003-107268), 2003.
The purpose of the NELAC is to foster the generation of environmental laboratory data of known and documented quality in a cost-effective manner through the development of nationally recognized standards for environmental laboratory accreditation.
NELAC is the result of a joint effort by EPA, other federal agencies, the States, and the private sector that began in 1990 when EPA's Environmental Monitoring Management Council (EMMC) established an internal work group to consider the feasibility and advisability of a national environmental laboratory accreditation program. The work group concluded that EPA should consult with representatives of all stakeholders, by establishing a federal advisory committee. As a result, the Committee on National Accreditation of Environmental Laboratories (CNAEL) was chartered in 1991 under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. In its final report to EMMC, CNAEL recommended that a national program for environmental laboratory accreditation be established. In response to the CNAEL recommendations, EPA and State representatives formed the State/EPA Focus Group that developed a proposed framework for NELAC, modeled after the National Conference on Weights and Measures. The Focus Group prepared a draft Constitution, Bylaws and standards, which were published in the Federal Register in December 1994. NELAC was established on February 16,1995 by State and federal officials with the adoption of an interim Constitution and Bylaws. NELAC was established as a standards-setting body to support a National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP). The goal of NELAP is to foster cooperation among the current accreditation activities of different States or other governmental agencies. NELAP seeks to unify the existing State and federal agency standards, at minimum cost to the States, federal agencies and accredited laboratories.