Ethics training is an essential, and often overlooked, facet of technician training in environmental laboratory quality management systems. APHL has created a set of resources to help laboratory managers easily find available tools for laboratory scientists to fulfill their ethics requirements. These resources will help laboratories meet accreditation requirements and compliances, provide proof of data accountability and establish acceptable practices for laboratories to produce reliable and defensible data.

General Laboratory Ethics Resources

Orientation Guide for New Laboratory Employees, Section 6 (APHL publication)
Discusses how ethical, professional and scientific behaviors help ensure scientific integrity and sustain effective relationships with stakeholders and the public.

Environmental Laboratory Ethics: Then and Now (APHL webinar, 1 hour)
Explains how environmental laboratories have changed over the last 50 years and how they have stayed the same. Provides an overview of basic environmental lab ethics including violations, decision making, data integrity and other fundamental aspects.

Ethical Vigilance: Lessons for Environmental Laboratories and Beyond (APHL webinar, 1 hour)
A broader philosophical ethics training that can inform decision making in the laboratory and life. It starts out with a brief overview of ethics topics specific to environmental laboratories and then discusses the broader, philosophical aspects of ethics that can inform decision-making both inside and outside the laboratory.

Laboratory Ethics (APHL training course, 1 hour, $29, free for members with code APHL2021)
Addresses the importance of maintaining ethical behavior on both an individual and organizational level. Discusses ethical challenges faced by laboratory personnel in maintaining public trust. Reviews a code-of-conduct example and the behaviors typical to ethical laboratory scientists. Covers ethical challenges faced by regulatory organizations, with an emphasis on regulatory laboratories.

To access the course:

  • Navigate to APHL training portal
  • Select Login, then select Create an Account.
  • Select catalog and enroll in "Laboratory Ethics."

CDC Public Health Ethics (CDC webpage)
A brief description of how CDC defines public health ethics, the agency's goals and structure and goals as they relate to ethics.

Laboratory Ethics: Drinking Water Program (Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy presentation)
Outlines what ethics is in an environmental laboratory, defines good ethics practices and outlines ethics breaches and how laboratories can address them.

Basic Information About Scientific Integrity (EPA Webpage)
A brief description of how EPA define scientific integrity and how it helps the agency pursue its mission of protecting human health and the environment.

Ethics Training is Essential for Envir​onmental Laboratories (AWWA Article)
Ethics is the discipline of dealing with right versus wrong, moral duty, obligation, and a guiding philosophy that creates a system of moral values and principles. It helps determine whether practices are acceptable and conform to professional standards of conduct. In short, ethics is a complex subject; the complexity lies in that, while some ethical practices may be unacceptable, all unethical practices are unacceptable. ​This article was published in the American Water Works Association Journal (doi.org/10.1002/awwa.1805).​

Data Collection and Integrity

Laboratory Ethics and Data Integrity (APHL webinar, 1 hour)
Describes the definitions relating to ethics and integrity. Discusses the various roles and responsibilities relating to work ethic, ethical conduct and producing data with unquestionable integrity. Recognizes data integrity vulnerabilities in the laboratory. Describes how and when to report potential data or ethical breaches.

Maintaining Data with Integrity (APHL webinar, 1 hour)
Defines integrity and the importance of data integrity in environmental and public health laboratories. Outlines the necessary elements to ensure data integrity from the first sample collected to reporting results. Explains how to achieve and maintain data integrity.

Data Integrity and Ethics (Labtopia webinar, 2 hours, $99)
Review of common indicators for laboratory fraud and how to ensure the laboratory is producing defensible data. 

Ethics for Environmental Laboratory Webcast (WEF Webinar)
Water, wastewater and public health laboratories produce data that directly impacts public health. It is important that this data be accurate, reliable and defensible. Laboratory Ethics programs provide guidance for decision making. Their focus on data integrity ensures that data accuracy, completeness and consistency is maintained over its entire life cycle. Ethics programs analysts determine if practices are acceptable and conform to professional standards. Email erin.morin@aphl.org for a discount code.

Codes of Ethics and Other Policies

APHA Public Health Code of Ethics
An introduction to public health ethics including core values, related obligations, guidance for ethical analysis and ethical action guidance for policy and practice.