Photos of readers

May 18, 2020 • 2:45 pm

Reader Bonnie L sent some interesting photos taken just before quarantine. One of her jobs, apparently, is to make sure that, if you’re in Washington State, your legalized recreational marijuana is safe!

I thought this might be a fun Photo of Readers selection. This was an LC-MS/MS training at the lab – just before the lockdown went into effect. Engineer Peter came from SCIEX to do a multi-day training with our laboratory staff. In the first photo, Peter has dismantled the instrument going over various preventative maintenance steps. In the second photo, colleague Robert and I listen as Peter gives us some software navigation tips.

We’re lucky to be deemed essential, so the lab is still running full speed ahead. We just purchased an ICP-MS, so will be looking forwarded to the expanded opportunities for testing that will provide.

I of course had to ask what her lab did, as the acronyms were opaque to me, so Bonnie replied:

Sure thing – we’re an ISO 17025:2017 certified quality assurance testing lab in Washington state. In addition to our environmental, food and beverage industry clients, we’re also a WSLCB certified I502 (that means cannabis- I502 was the initiative that legalized recreational cannabis in Washington state) testing laboratory. The LC-MS/MS is used primarily for pesticide residue testing and mycotoxin screening. We’re really looking forward to the addition of heavy metal screening with the ICP-MS.


9 thoughts on “Photos of readers

  1. Yes, that test uses specified solvents to extract materials and then mass spectrometry to determine what was extracted (bad stuff, mainly it looks for).

    We use that for biocompatibility testing of our implantable products (among many other tests).

  2. “One of her jobs, apparently, is to make sure that, if you’re in Washington State, your legalized recreational marijuana is safe!”

    In that regard alone during the quarantine, I’d say you are an “Essential Employee” engaged in “Essential Work.” It took me a minute to realize that heavy metal wasn’t the rock genre.

  3. You go, girl! Thanks to you and to all the scientists and healthcare workers still getting it done out there. You deserve everyone’s gratitude.

    (I mean that. People probably think that ensuring the safety of marijuana isn’t something important, but it’s a widely used medicine like any pill, so the people who ensure its safety are indeed vital)

    1. Thanks, BJ. I do take the consumer safety part of our job very seriously. I feel very, very lucky to be working in a safe place where we get to help people.

  4. What does the second “MS” mean – you have the option to skip the Liquid Chromatography and go straight to Mass Spectroscopy?

    I used to do Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) at work, a much more crude (but fast) way to get a lot of atomic composition information. But then the value of the metals we were sorting dropped, and the lasers were mothballed 🙁

    1. The MS is for mass spectroscopy (in tandem) – and coupled with the LC instrument. LIBS sounds fun – I would love to see it done!

  5. Cool! I’ve run LC MS/MS before, and FWIW what was for a number of years my last scientific publication (until they started up again against all odds).

    Long ago while in the UK evaluating a mass spectrometer in the UK, I was surprised to learn that they sold many to horse racing tracks – to analyze for doping!

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