Three New Forensic Documents From the AAFS Standards Board (ASB)

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Source: Teresa Ambrosius, ASB Secretariat

The AAFS Standards Board (ASB) is pleased to announce the publication of three new documents.

Best Practice Recommendation 006, Best Practice Recommendation for Planning DNA Sample Collection and Analysis for the Identification Process in Mass Fatality Incidents. This guide aims to provide information that allows jurisdictions to prepare for a mass fatality incident and implement a DNA sample collection and analysis plan to effectively contribute to the identification of the victims. Decisions made in the early stages of an incident will have significant consequences later in the identification process. This document is intended to assist the decision makers with that process. Where possible, the guidelines below should be applied. Absent specific guidance, practitioners should adhere to the principle, spirit and intent.

Best Practice Recommendation 009, Best Practice Recommendations for the Examination of Human Remains by Forensic Pathologists in the Disaster Victim Identification Context. The purpose of this document is to provide best practices and guidelines regarding postmortem data collection by forensic pathologists to aid in the identification of human remains following a mass fatality incident. This document does not speak to the role forensic pathologists may have in death certification or in management of the overall operation, but rather is limited to the morgue operations role.

Standard 045, Standard for Stature Estimation in Forensic Anthropology. Stature is one of several biological parameters that can be estimated from skeletal remains or radiographic images of skeletal remains. This standard describes methods for estimating stature from skeletal elements when disarticulation has occurred, rendering measured cadaver length unreliable. The methods in this standard are intended to provide a mathematically-based systematic manner of estimating stature and documenting the stature estimation process.

ASB documents are available for download in the Published Documents portion of the ASB website.

The AAFS Standards Board (ASB) is an ANSI-accredited Standards Developing Organization with the purpose of providing accessible, high quality science-based consensus forensic standards. The ASB is a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS), established in 2015 and accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in 2016. The ASB is partially funded by a grant through the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

The ASB consists of Consensus Bodies (CB), which are open to all materially interested and affected individuals, companies, and organizations; a Board of Directors; and Staff.

ABOUT ANSI ANSI facilitates the development of American National Standards (ANS) by accrediting the procedures of standards developing organizations (SDOs). Accreditation by ANSI signifies that the procedures used by the standards body in connection with the development of American National Standards meet the Institute’s essential requirements for openness, balance, consensus and due process.

The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act (NTTAA) of 1995 (Public Law 104-113) and its implementation directive, Office of Management and Budget Circular A-119, direct federal agencies to utilize voluntary consensus standards where feasible and to participate as appropriate in voluntary consensus standards development activities. Standards developed in accordance with ANSI’s accreditation requirements satisfy obligations incumbent on federal agencies to use or adopt voluntary consensus standards.

In order to maintain ANSI accreditation, standards developers are required to consistently adhere to a set of requirements or procedures that govern the consensus development process. These requirements are set forth in a document known as the ANSI Essential Requirements: Due process requirements for American National Standards (

Due process is the key to ensuring that ANSs are developed in an environment that is equitable, accessible and responsive to the requirements of various stakeholders. The open and fair ANS process ensures that all interested and affected parties have an opportunity to participate in a standard’s development. It also serves and protects the public interest since standards developers accredited by ANSI must meet the Institute’s essential requirements and other due process safeguards.