, Volume 184, Issue 10, pp 6367-6375
Date: 18 Nov 2011

Statistical evaluation of data from multi-laboratory testing of a measurement method intended to indicate the presence of dust resulting from the collapse of the World Trade Center

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In this paper we describe a statistical analysis of the inter-laboratory data summarized in Rosati et al. (2008) to assess the performance of an analytical method to detect the presence of dust from the collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) on September 11, 2001. The focus of the inter-lab study was the measurement of the concentration of slag wool fibers in dust which was considered to be an indicator of WTC dust. Eight labs were provided with two blinded samples each of three batches of dust that varied in slag wool concentration. Analysis of the data revealed that three of labs, which did not meet measurement quality objectives set forth prior to the experimental work, were statistically distinguishable from the five labs that did meet the quality objectives. The five labs, as a group, demonstrated better measurement capability although their ability to distinguish between the batches was somewhat mixed. This work provides important insights for the planning and implementation of future studies involving examination of dust samples for physical contaminants. This work demonstrates (a) the importance of controlling the amount of dust analyzed, (b) the need to take additional replicates to improve count estimates, and (c) the need to address issues related to the execution of the analytical methodology to ensure all labs meet the measurement quality objectives.

The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the US Environmental Protection Agency.