AFRICA: Asbestos Fibre Counting Inter-Laboratory Comparison
AFRICA (Asbestos Fibre Regular Informal Counting Arrangement) is an international proficiency testing scheme for laboratories measuring airborne asbestos fibre concentrations using the standard optical microscopy method.
What does AFRICA Provide?
AFRICA, established in 1984, tests participating laboratories twice a year. Participation in the AFRICA Scheme provides members with the following benefits:
- Regular, twice-yearly batches of test samples to analyse. These batches include a range of asbestos sample types, including those familiar to participants, but also less familiar types.
- A Results Report comparing the participant’s results to reference counts sent directly to the participant following the submission of counts.
- An End of Round Report that provides a general overview of performance during the round, allowing laboratories to compare their performance to that of participants as a whole.
- An individual Laboratory Certificate at the end of each round, which can be displayed and shown to others (authorities, clients etc.).
- Feedback to comments made by participants on slides in their batch, following screening by an internal microscopist.
- The option of additional feedback for participants who receive a ‘3’ (poor performance) rating.
Additional benefits of membership include:
- For experienced asbestos laboratories, comparison with similar organisations in other countries;
- For less experienced laboratories, performance improvement through comparison with international asbestos fibre counting standards;
- A link between proficiency testing schemes in different countries;
- Contribution to participants’ internal quality assurance programmes;
- Opportunities to exchange news, advice and opinions on asbestos monitoring matters.
Details of the scheme's operational procedures can be downloaded here and an application form for AFRICA can be downloaded here, which provides timings and prices of the current rounds. If you wish to join AFRICA, please send the completed form to AFRICA@iom-world.org.
Further information: contact Amy Clark, AFRICA Scheme Coordinator (telephone: +44 131 449 8096; AFRICA@iom-world.org)