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Advice from your chemist - top four things when dealing with your spill into a river

You have had a spill… don’t panic, everything will be fine. Accidents happen. It is what you do next that is important. I have worked on many spills and here are what I believe are four of the most important things from a chemist’s perspective.

Best Practices for Collecting Flawless Field Samples for Court Cases

A little under a year ago, Chemistry Matters provided an all-day legal sampling seminar on best practices, requirements and techniques for legal sampling.  

What Sample Container is Best for Fire Debris Analysis?

I was attending and presenting at the 2017 International Association Arson Investigations (IAAI) Conference in Las Vegas in April. My four hour presentation covered many aspects of legal sampling and chain of custody as well as providing a fundamental description of laboratory analysis of ignitable liquid residues...

2DGC: Why You Need to Know about this Niche Analytical Technique

You may have heard about an analytical technique called 2DGC or Two-Dimensional Gas Chromatography. Or perhaps you have not.

Can Statistical Sampling Give You Better Data & Save You Money?

Sampling can easily run up the costs of an investigation. As expert chemists, it's our responsibility to balance cost with collecting the proper number of samples for our clients.

Understand the "Why" before Collecting a Sample

Just Grab a Sample? Wait! Not so fast!

Unfortunately, I hear the words "just grab a sample" too often in my line of work.

6 Ideas to Make a Flawless Transfer of Chain of Custody to the Lab

Imagine This...

You have just finished a very large field program.  You must have collected nearly 100 samples, all different matrices (water, soil, sediment, product samples), and multiple analyses are needed.  You have COCs (chain of custody forms) filled out for everything, and you are driving over to the...

Weatherproof Paper for your Legal Field Notes and Forms

New paper, how exciting!

The picture for this blog looks pretty boring.  Just another picture of a chain of custody form.

Nope, these are special paper chain of custody forms.  Printed them up myself on my inkjet printer... What makes them special?  One is water resistant, one is water proof, and the last one is...

Arson sample collection - Any old paint can will do? Part 2

The training seminar presentation on Forensics Laboratory Analysis and Process which was delivered at Life of a Fire Investigator seminar being hosted by the Fire Investigation Association of Alberta (FIAA) went very well.  It was nice to meet those involved in FIAA and have the opportunity to talk with them.  I...

Arson sample collection - Any old paint can will do? Part 1

As I was preparing my training seminar for a presentation on Forensics Laboratory Analysis and Process to be delivered at Life of a Fire Investigator seminar being hosted by the Fire Investigation Association of Alberta (FIAA), I came across some information on cans for sample collection. I thought it would be good...

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