The DFS’s Public Health Laboratory Division (PHL) tests samples in a wide variety of materials for toxins, infectious organisms, and other threats to public health. The PHL tests for bacterial and viral infections, heavy metals, toxic or volatile materials, and other hazards to public health and safety. The PHL provides clinical diagnostic testing, disease surveillance, emergency response support, applied research, laboratory training and other essential services.
Using many of the same instrumentation and methods as the forensic science laboratory, the PHL employs chemists, microbiologists, immunologists, medical technicians, and other specialists to conduct their tests. The staff of the PHL liaise with other governmental and professional organizations, like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), and other federal agencies. In the District, the PHL works closely with the DC Department of Health (DOH) and the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) to protect the District and its residents.