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MPHL : DEC Public Information

 
Frequently Asked Questions
 

 
Q.  CAN I BRING SAMPLES TO THE LABORATORY TO BE TESTED?
 
A.  No. You must contact your local health department. They will collect any necessary information from you and make arrangements to collect the sample and deliver it to the laboratory.
 
Q.  CAN YOU ANSWER MY QUESTIONS REGARDING CLIA REGULATIONS OR LICENSING?
 
A.  Please call the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office of Health Care Quality at (410) 402-8000, Toll-free: 1-877-402-8218, or email: http://dhmh.maryland.gov/ohcq for questions regarding Maryland laboratories. Non-Maryland laboratories should contact the appropriate agency in their state.
 
Q.  DO YOU LICENSE CLINICAL LABORATORIES IN THE STATE OF MARYLAND?
 
A.  No. Call the Office of Health Care Quality at (410) 402-8000, Toll-free: 1-877-402-8218, or email: http://dhmh.maryland.gov/ohcq for questions  
 
Q.  WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS TO PROTECT MY FAMILY FROM UNSAFE HEALTH EFFECT OF OUR WATER?
 
A. The first step to protect your health and the health of your family is to become educated about what may pollute your source of drinking water and take preventive measures to reduce contaminates. Potential contamination may occur naturally, or as a result of human activity.
 
Q. WHAT IS YOUR TURN AROUND TIME (TAT)?
 
A.  Our TAT is 10 working days of sample receipt. We also have to take into consideration the holding time of the sample. Some samples can have short holding times, which will result in a shorter holding time.
 
Q.  WHAT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE IF I NEED RESULTS BEFORE THE FINAL REPORT IS READY?
 
A.  Our sample management areas can send the data by fax or e-mail in order to speed up the delivery of results.
 
Q.  WHAT IS BIOMONITORING?
 
A.  Biomonitoring is a technique for measuring chemicals in our bodies. It involves collecting a person’s blood, urine, or another body fluid or tissue and analyzing the sample to see if certain chemicals are present, and at what levels. A good example of biomonitoring is the widespread testing of children’s blood to make sure that they do not have high levels of lead. We come into contact with hundreds of environmental chemicals each day through the food we eat, the beverages we drink, the air we breathe, and the products we use. Biomonitoring can give us information about which chemicals get into our bodies and the exposure level. Biomonitoring can provide information to help evaluate how well government programs protect people from harmful chemicals and if there is a need for government policy adjustments.
 
  
 
Q.  WHAT SERVICES DOES THE DIVISION OF ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY LABORATORIES PROVIDE?
 
A.  The Division of Environmental Chemistry (DEC) is a full-service environmental lab that tests and assesses water, air, soil, hazardous materials, and biological samples.  DEC is a full service environmental laboratory for the State of Maryland. Its purpose is to provide the highest value and highest quality environmental testing, monitoring, assessment, and information services to benefit both citizens and the natural environment. The Lab operates in a flexible, innovative, manner that is responsive to the needs and expectations of the citizens of Maryland and of Federal and State government programs.

We perform test such as general organic (PCBs, pesticides, etc.) and inorganic chemistry (nutrients and basic parameters), metals and toxics, asbestos, and chemical warfare contaminates. DEC operates under various laws and regulations at both the Federal and State level, these laws governing how business is conducted throughout the division.
 
Q. WHER ARE YOU LOCATED?
 
A. The Division of Environmental Chemistry is located in the city of Baltimore at 201 W. Preston Street 21201 in the Laboratory Administration. 
 
Q. CAN YOU TELL ME IF MY WATER IS CLEAN?
 
A. We can test your water for certain parameters to see how it compares to State and federal Drinking Water Standards. Your local state health department can help you with choosing the right test for you.
 
Q. CAN YOU TEST FOR PESTICIDES; I LIVE NEAR TO A FARM?
 
A. We are able to test for pesticides.  Your local state health department can help you with choosing the right test for you.