Text by Dr. Vicky Migo and Dr. Lilibeth Coo
As part of the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines (ICP)’s Continuing Professional Education Program, a special workshop on “Sampling for Chemical Analysis” was held last April 26, 2013 at the Police Training Center, Camp Crame, Quezon City. The seminar was conducted by Dr. Edgar F. Paski of the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).
Dr. Paski or Ed, as he is fondly called by his colleagues from ICP, has worked in industry and government in the areas of mining and mineral exploration, environmental chemistry, pulp and paper technology and agrology. He teaches courses in analytical atomic spectrometry, quality assurance and the assayer certification program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). He is one strict assessor with an eagle-eye precision to correct techniques for testing laboratories to the ISO 17025 Standard for the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA). It is in this area of his expertise that he got acquainted with IRRI chemists and later with ICP. Dr. Paski’s professional interests include: plasma spectrochemistry, sampling for chemical analysis, chemometrics, automated chemical analysis, trace elements in geological and environmental materials, quality assurance, laser applications in analytical chemistry, multidimensional luminescence spectrometry, computer applications in analytical chemistry, assaying precious metals.
The workshop aims to give participants an understanding of the critical influence of sampling on the quality of analytical results, especially for geological, environmental, and agricultural materials. The topics covered include variability in test results, accepted terminology for the various types of sample materials, heterogeneity of solid objects, tools and techniques for sampling solids, liquids and gases, fundamental causes of sampling errors and how to estimate laboratory and field sampling uncertainties. Most of the 60 participants came from commercial private laboratories and some are from the government (DOST, EDC and PC Crime Lab) and from the academe (Adamson University, Bicol University).
General Liza Sabong of the PNP, a member of the ICP Board of Directors (representing the government) gave the warm welcome remarks. Her speech described the importance of maintaining the integrity of samples (specimens) in the forensic science. She noted the critical role of analytical chemists in generating accurate results in the field of forensic chemistry. She proudly informed the audience of the DNA laboratory of the PNP that houses the complete array of analytical instruments for DNA testing.
The seminar cum workshop was a one-man show handled by the very energetic and indefatigable Dr. Paski whose lectures are very informative and enlightening. The participants appreciated his lectures and were very thankful for a lot of materials and references on sampling techniques which Dr. Paski freely shared. The highlight of the activity is a workshop wherein participants were made to employ the different methods of sampling which they learned from the lectures, and applied them in a mixture of grains: rice, green and red mungbeans, etc. Acknowledgement is due to Shimadzu Philippines Corporation for providing two units of top loading balance that were used during the workshop. All participants recognized the value of the training and the useful information that they got from this seminar.