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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Ludlow, Maine - Aroostook County, near Houlton
    Posts
    18

    Default Radon Spikes and Field Blanks

    OK - I basically understand the function of field blanks and spiked measurements as important parts of a Quality Assurance Plan, but when it comes to actually sending them in to the lab, ... that's my problem.

    My understanding is that when spikes or field blanks get sent to the lab, they are supposed to look just like ordinary tests. The problem is that when I send canisters, from an ordinary test, to the lab, I include a filled-in form stating device #s, exact locations, start and stop times, etc. AND I am an honest person. In order to have spikes or blanks look just like ordinary tests, does one have to lie, or maybe not include the usual filled-in forms? It's possible that I've misunderstood something along the way.

    Also, with spikes, which test for accuracy, there's the extra time for shipment from the radon chamber back to me. .... Minor detail. I mail ordinary tests to the lab on either the day that they are retrieved or the next business day.

    What to do? Please don't tell me to just forget about spikes and blanks. People count on me to do things right.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: Radon Spikes and Field Blanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Janet Campbell View Post
    OK - What to do? Please don't tell me to just forget about spikes and blanks. People count on me to do things right.

    My advice would be to get away from the canisters and in to the modern ages with a CRM. With CRM's your clients will have the results sooner and you will not have to worry about blanks. IHVHO, you are doing your clients a disservice if you do not use a CRM. Plus and a big plus is that after a few test the CRM's are basically paid for.

    You can buy or lease them. From what I have seen lease cost are about the price of one test. Radalink I think even handles all of the QA, forms, records, etc.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
    Shawn Price's Avatar
    Shawn Price Guest

    Default Re: Radon Spikes and Field Blanks

    Janet, thank goodness someone is doing QA/QC and attempting to do things right. I'd be more than happy to give you some ideas on how to do spikes and blanks properly and keep them 'hidden' from the lab. I wish I had the opportunity to answer that question more often! Feel free to call me at 800-247-2435 x812.

    A few comments on Scott's post. Yes, CRMs are good tools, but are not perfect either. Many users to not keep them properly calibrated and when they do calibrate them, often skip the background check to save costs and then ignore the rest of the protocols such as the semi annual cross check with a recently calibrated CRM and the cross checks with other devices every 10th test. Users often simply press the print or download button and assume everything is OK as long as there is ink and paper in the printer. This doesn't even talk to reviewing the data to identify abnormal tests.

    We have both CRM and charcoal programs here in our company, so I'm not trying to sell charcoal kits to you. However, we've done over 15,000 side-by-side measurements with the femto-Tech 510 and our kits, so we have assessed agreement from many angles. History (and the data) shows good agreement when I's are dotted and T's are crossed.

    In fact, any of the approved radon devices can provide accurate readings as long as there is adherence to the protocols, a QA/QC program, have careful and attentive users, an understanding of the limitations of the device, and a competent analyst. But just because a unit or a lab produces a number, doesn't mean that the number is accurate. There is no magic or perfect instrument. Humans built them, humans service them and humans use them.

    Just my thoughts on this muggy Thursday in Western NC!

    Shawn Price


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Ludlow, Maine - Aroostook County, near Houlton
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Radon Spikes and Field Blanks

    Thank you Shawn and Scott. I appreciate your advice, comments and opinions.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
    Posts
    5,847

    Default Re: Radon Spikes and Field Blanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Price View Post
    Janet, thank goodness someone is doing QA/QC and attempting to do things right. I'd be more than happy to give you some ideas on how to do spikes and blanks properly and keep them 'hidden' from the lab. I wish I had the opportunity to answer that question more often! Feel free to call me at 800-247-2435 x812.

    A few comments on Scott's post. Yes, CRMs are good tools, but are not perfect either. Many users to not keep them properly calibrated and when they do calibrate them, often skip the background check to save costs and then ignore the rest of the protocols such as the semi annual cross check with a recently calibrated CRM and the cross checks with other devices every 10th test. Users often simply press the print or download button and assume everything is OK as long as there is ink and paper in the printer. This doesn't even talk to reviewing the data to identify abnormal tests.

    We have both CRM and charcoal programs here in our company, so I'm not trying to sell charcoal kits to you. However, we've done over 15,000 side-by-side measurements with the femto-Tech 510 and our kits, so we have assessed agreement from many angles. History (and the data) shows good agreement when I's are dotted and T's are crossed.

    In fact, any of the approved radon devices can provide accurate readings as long as there is adherence to the protocols, a QA/QC program, have careful and attentive users, an understanding of the limitations of the device, and a competent analyst. But just because a unit or a lab produces a number, doesn't mean that the number is accurate. There is no magic or perfect instrument. Humans built them, humans service them and humans use them.

    Just my thoughts on this muggy Thursday in Western NC!

    Shawn Price
    Shawn, all good points and I agree with you. I use E-Perms as well and use them as cross checks. I just wonder how many folks do not have a QA/QC program? I would venture to say that about 50%+ of the folks in my area do not!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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