Proper sample packaging can mean the difference between a successful or failed analysis.

In techniques that analyze small areas or are used to determine trace chemical composition, packaging that appears innocuous can contribute as much material as was present initially.

Analytical Answers, Inc. has had extensive experience dealing with the results of improperly packaging samples. We want your project to yield the best results possible so we strive to assist you in minimizing the impact of sample packaging. The table below describes the best packaging (and some easily obtained alternatives) for packaging your samples.

Material Type Do Don’t
Solids Aluminum foil (ordinary household type) is the preferred packaging material Plastic bags and wraps are coated with processing aids and these are significant interferents for techniques such as Auger, ESCA and FTIR
Microelectronics Aluminum foil (ordinary household type) is also the preferred packaging material with static sensitive microelectronics Conductive foams and plastics used for microelectronic packaging are again usually heavily treated and are a major source of interferents.
Liquids Clean Glass Vials or Jars rinsed with clean solvent and air dried.  Alternatively clean Mason jars with aluminum foil lined caps. Please provide a “blank” clean container and or solvent as appropriate. Many industrial liquids can extract or dissolve plastic containers.  This will compromise the sample.


All samples received for analysis should be clearly marked with as much information as possible. Samples that require refrigeration, or are perishable should be marked clearly and shipped promptly, under appropriate cooled conditions.  Light sensitive samples should be clearly marked on the outside of the container.

Biohazard Form

We have a very strict policy concerning potentially biohazardous materials. Samples of medical products and devices, even unused ones, require either a statement of non-hazard or a certificate of sterilization. Please follow the directions in our Biohazard Declaration.

Chemical Hazard Form

Samples, references, compounds or other materials submitted to Analytical Answers, Inc. which are known or suspected safety or health hazards, must be accompanied by Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). For experimental samples MSDSs are required to be prepared and transmitted with the initial shipment of all hazardous chemicals by OSHA regulations. Therefore we cannot accept hazardous material, as defined by OSHA under 29 CFR 1910.1200 (hyperlink to OSHA website) without an appropriate MSDS.

In general, if the material comes to your organization with an MSDS, we need to have a copy of that MSDS. If you are synthesizing the material, your environmental health and safety group can advise you regarding the need for an MSDS.

Quality Programs

Analytical Answers, Inc. provides data and information to a variety of companies, all with varying requirements on quality of the data submitted. We are a member of the American Council of Independent Laboratories and adhere to the ACIL guidelines on quality control and quality assurance. We have participated in ACIL qualifying exercises.

We also provide data to many pharmaceutical and medical device companies and our laboratory complies with the items set forth in 21CFR Part 58. We have been audited by many of our client’s Quality Assurance organizations and found to be in compliance with their quality systems. Please call us to discuss any questions you may have.