The Centre de toxicologie du Québec (CTQ) offers analytical expertise in toxicology for various materials such as metals, organic contaminants, pharmaceuticals, etc. It also offers external quality assurance services based on inter-laboratory comparison programs. The laboratory is organized according to 5 fields of activity: clinical, environment, metals, development and research.
Laboratory Specialized Services
The mandate of the laboratory of toxicology is to ensure the availability, the quality, and the development of technical and scientific expertise in analytical toxicology, intended for the hospital network, the public health network, and public institutions such as the Bureau du Coroner (coroner’s office), the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et sécurité au travail (IRSST), and Health Canada. It also provides this expertise to university centers as well as several other partners and clients.
Designated as reference center in toxicology within the network of hospital laboratories in Quebec, it provides specialized laboratory services mainly applied to metals, (arsenic, cadmium, nickel, lead, etc.), environmental pollutants and their metabolites (bisphenol A, polychlorinated biphenyls, pesticides, phthalates, etc.), pharmaceuticals, and drugs of abuse (amphetamines, opiates, etc.).
The CTQ has ultra-specialized, state-of-the-art laboratory instruments, used to identify, detect, and quantify substances in various biological matrices, particularly blood, urine, hair, nails, and tissues. Furthermore, the laboratory has the ISO/CEI 17025 accreditation (Quality Manual) of the Standards Council of Canada for human toxicology analysis. In this regard, the CTQ takes part in well-known external quality assurance programs; over 150 substances are handled by these programs. In order to consult the list of accredited methods, please refer to our ISO/CEI 17025 scope of accreditation.
Depending on the needs of its partners and clients, the laboratory develops new analytical methods, as well as bio-indicators of exposure related to population-based studies or research, mainly concerning chemical hazard. Furthermore, the CTQ’s research activities are related to the application of biomarkers of exposure and effects as part of biomonitoring or epidemiologic studies, as well as studies of metabolic profiles in biological fluids for the early detection of toxic effects or diseases. It also contributes to the development of skills, by means of training technology experts, professional chemists or clinical bio-chemists, and graduated students.
External Quality Assessment Schemes
The external quality assessment schemes refer to the organization, the accomplishment and the evaluation of proficiency testing by inter-laboratory comparison, allowing the participants to evaluate their performance related to specific measurements, based on their accuracy and reproducibility. The participation in these programs is part of a quality management process, and it is required in most cases relating to the domain of laboratories.
The CTQ has been one of the first organizations in Canada accredited according to the requirements of the ISO/CEI 17043 standard (Quality Manual), and thus recognised for its expertise in the implementation of proficiency testing schemes in the human toxicology field. To this day, the CTQ ensures the management of four continuous quality assessment programs, three of which apply to metals and one to persistent organic pollutants. Every year, over 250 laboratories in 30 countries participate in these external quality assessment schemes. To get more information about the parameters of the proficiency testing schemes subject to this accreditation, please refer to our ISO/CEI 17043 scope of accreditation.
Upon request, the CTQ also provides reference materials to external laboratories, allowing them to perform internal quality control.