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Chemical analysis facility achieves expanded OPCW accreditation

23 November 2021

Defence has been granted ‘Designated Laboratory Status’ for both biomedical and environmental sample analysis by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

This accreditation makes Defence scientists eligible to analyse environmental and biomedical samples following OPCW inspections, or to verify the suspected use of chemical warfare agents.

Defence’s Chemical Agents Analysis Facility in Melbourne will be one of only 15 laboratories in the world that are able to undertake both biomedical and environmental sample analysis for the OPCW.

Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist Professor Tanya Monro says the accreditation is an outstanding achievement for Defence and globally benchmarks the Fishermans Bend facility as a truly sovereign capability.

“Defence scientists have supported international efforts to obtain a total and comprehensive ban on the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons since the 1980s,” Professor Monro says. “This accreditation is a testament to the great work of analytical and synthetic organic chemists within Defence.”

The OPCW is responsible for the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, with member states working to eliminate the threat of chemical weapons. Australia is a strong supporter of the OPCW and its mission to rid the world of chemical weapons.

Defence became part of the OPCW-approved laboratory network in 2016 when it was granted Designated Laboratory Status for the analysis of biomedical samples (plasma and urine).

OPCW laboratories must adhere to strict administrative guidelines and undergo annual proficiency testing in order to maintain their accreditation.