The background and experience of QAA's principals allows us to provide a full range of Quality Assurance Services and complete Litigation Support for personal injury due to chemical exposure, fire cause and origin, process evaluation, and product liability.
TOTAL QUALITY ASSURANCE SERVICES
· Environmental Data Validation, Review, and Usability Determination - QAA provides third-party validation of laboratory results (at 5-10% of the sampling and analysis cost) using reference criteria or those specified by the project. Because of our broad range of data review experience, we can validate and prepare a report (Data Usability Summary) for:
more information, see the articles Data Quality Assessment -
It's Not Just Pushing Paper, Risk Assessment - A
Typical Scenario, and What is "Good" Data?.
· Analytical Data Rescue - When a data quality problem arises, it raises questions concerning such items as design of the monitoring system, analytical method selection, data processing options, and laboratory technique. Our broad interpretive experience enables QAA to ask the right questions and identify the underlying cause. If the problem is programmatic (i.e., related to the sampling design or choice of analytical method), QAA can recommend changes for future sampling events that will improve data quality and often reduce costs. If the problem is procedural (i.e., related to the data processing or laboratory technique), QAA can often develop re-processing techniques and/or mathematical corrections. This ability can be especially useful for projects involving hundreds of samples and/or extended time periods.
· Preparation of Quality Assurance Plans (QAPs) - QAA has prepared laboratory, office, and project QAPs including the Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPjP) for a Superfund site that the EPA rated as exemplary and recommended as a model for other sites. QAA prepares QAPs in accord with EPA or other applicable regulatory guidelines that are tailored to the proper objectives and include the four most essential parts:
· Coordination of Analytical Laboratory Services - QAA is an expert at establishing a relationship between the laboratory and the project and provides the coordination that is crucial to a project's success. With our experience in laboratory operation and management, QAA can also assist in:
· Project Quality Assurance Management - QAA has experience in providing all of the above QA services for a large Superfund Site in addition to the following:
· Data Validation, Review, and Suitability Determination - Whether historical or recently obtained, analytical data used in support of a case must be valid and of known and documented quality. QAA provides third-party validation of laboratory results using appropriate criteria. There are numerous published guidelines regarding criteria for environmental data quality but none for forensic data. QAA's concurring experience in analytical chemistry, environmental chemistry, and analytical toxicology allows us to develop criteria that assure maximum defensibility with minimum expense. For more information, see the article What is "Good" Data?.
· Literature Searches - QAA prefers to start most litigation support efforts with a literature search of current reference material. Although we have extensive experience in our disciplines, we feel it is prudent to check the literature for the latest developments in the field. Normally these searches can be performed on the Internet. QAA office locations also make it convenient to use the library facilities at Texas A & M University, the University of Texas, and the University of Houston, if necessary.
· Evaluation of Reference Materials and Depositions - QAA evaluates depositions and reference material presented by the opposition for relevance, scientific accuracy, engineering approach, and just plain common sense. References listed in documents produced by the opposition are normally included in the literature search to verify their interpretation by the opposition.
· Abiotic Fate and Effects of Chemicals - It is often postulated that apparently harmless chemicals undergo degradation or combination reactions in the environment to produce toxic chemicals that result in personal injury. Abiotic fate and effects addresses those reactions that occur due to physical and chemical processes as opposed to biotic processes that are due to living microorganisms. This can include light-induced degradation, air oxidation, hydrolysis by water, and various reactions catalyzed by soil characteristics. QAA performs literature searches to identify which reactions are remotely possible and obtain reaction rates. By defining the plausible conditions in the affected area with the assistance of environmental geologists and hydrogeologists, it is then possible to calculate the magnitude of such reactions.
· Modeling of Chemical Exposure (Airborne, Water, and Soil Chemical Transport) - Liability for personal injury requires that (1) a source of harmful material be identified, (2) an exposure pathway be present, and (3) a personal injury be shown to exist. QAA performs modeling calculations to determine the exposure from the source to the injured person(s) using a defined exposure pathway. The transport mechanism of chemicals from the source may be direct contact or by movement in air, soil or water. Modeling is commonly done to define exposure from experimentally determined data or from the results of fate and effects calculations.
· Chemical Engineering - In addition to modeling of chemical exposure, QAA makes evaluations pertaining to fluid mechanics and heat transfer; process modeling, simulation, and control; chemical reaction kinetics; and plant and reactor design. QAA examines patent applications for uniqueness and suitability. Manufacturing processes can be examined and a quantitative list of all compounds produced by the process (including active ingredients, secondary products and contaminants) is produced. This information, termed product speciation, is in turn used in the preparation of MSDS sheets.