AAFS ASB Standards Developing Organization — “A” for Achievement

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Source:  Mary McKiel, PhD

The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) Standards Board (ASB) standardization work began a little more than a year ago with the process of establishing and populating Consensus Bodies (CB) to conduct the work of standards writing. Since that time, progress has been outstanding.

There are 33 standardization projects well underway in the 13 CBs, and more standards work is being initiated on a monthly basis. The Toxicology CB is on track for producing the first finalized standard, “Standard Practices for Measurement Traceability in Forensic Toxicology”. Currently, Toxicology is addressing all 160 public comments on the draft standard after which there will be another 45-day public comment period. The end result is that the standard could be published at the one-year mark since the establishment of the Toxicology CB. In standardization work, that timeframe is truly commendable!

In addition, the DNA CB has two documents in editing that will soon be submitted for public comment (“Validation Standards for Probabilistic Genotyping Systems” and “Standards for Validation Studies of DNA Mixtures for the Development and Verification of a Laboratory Mixture Interpretation Protocol”). The CBs for Forensic Document Examination (FDE), Dogs and Sensors, Disaster Victim Identification (DVI), and Wildlife will follow shortly with more documents. Members of AAFS, all those involved in the forensic community, and the public at large are encouraged to review and comment on ASB draft documents during public review time. Documents for public review will be announced on the ASB website and News Feed, in the AAFS News Feed, in the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI’s) Standards Action, and through other forensics and standards outlets.

ASB continues to work closely with the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) communities that submit New Work Proposals (NWP) for ASB consideration. ASB reviews these and all NWPs to determine suitability for work by ASB consensus bodies. OSAC sections have provided liaison members to many of the ASB CBs, which provides continuity in forensics language and methodological approaches as standards are developed.

ASB’s ongoing efforts rely on contributions to ensure the availability of forensics standards and appreciates all those who have donated to the program. If you would like to contribute to this important work, please contact us at https://asb.aafs.org/contribute.