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P004: Scientific Laboratory Division (FY17-FY19 Strategic Plan)

What We Do

The Scientific Laboratory Division (SLD) provides laboratory analysis and scientific expertise for public health policy development, environment and toxicology programs in New Mexico. SLD provides timely identification in order to prevent, identify, and respond to threats to public health and safety from emerging and unusual infectious diseases in humans, animals, water, food, and dairy, as well as chemical and radiological hazards in drinking water systems and environmental water, air, and soil. In addition, the laboratory performs drug testing and provides expert witness testimony for forensic investigations of DWI/DUID and cause of death from drugs and infectious disease. SLD is the primacy bioterrorism and chemical terrorism response laboratory for the state and provides training for clinical laboratories throughout New Mexico.

Who We Serve

New Mexico statute dictates that the Scientific Laboratory Division is the primacy laboratory for the New Mexico Department of Health, the New Mexico Environment Department, and the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, as well as the testing and regulatory authority for impaired driving testing.

How We Impact

The Scientific Laboratory Division (SLD) is New Mexico’s official 1) public health, 2) environmental monitoring and 3) forensic toxicology laboratory. In the above roles, the Scientific Laboratory Division operates the following programs:

  • Infectious disease reference testing laboratory for NMDOH, NM hospitals and clinical labs;
  • Primacy NM regulatory drinking water testing laboratory for EPA and NM Environment Department;
  • Regulatory air testing laboratory for NM Environment Department and City of Albuquerque;
  • Primacy NM regulatory dairy testing laboratory for FDA and NM Department of Agriculture;
  • Veterinary infectious disease reference testing laboratory for the NMD Ag’s, Veterinary Diagnostic Services;
  • Food borne infectious disease testing laboratory;
  • Certification inspectors for private dairy and dairy testing laboratories for the NM Environment Department and the NM Dept. Agriculture;
  • DWI/DUID alcohol and drug testing laboratory;
  • State toxicology expert witnesses for DWI/DUID criminal cases;
  • Certifying authority for NM law enforcement officers for breath alcohol testing;
  • Bio- and chemical terrorism response laboratory for New Mexico;
  • Disease and drug testing laboratory for the NM Office of the Medical Examiner.


FY17 OPERATING BUDGET: $12,479,600

  • General Funds: $7,575,000
  • Other Transfers: $1,168,400
  • Federal Funds: $2,368,000
  • Other State Funds: $1,368,200


During FY17, some of SLD’s accomplishments included: 


  • Completed a Public Health Laboratory System Improvement Program follow-up assessment, which included all of SLD's partner agencies - One of only five states to accomplish this task.  

Chemistry Bureau:

  • Received and installed replacements for eight instruments over 10 years of age.
  • Laboratory was approved for 3-year participation in the  Environmental Protection Agency’s Unregulated Contaminants Monitoring Rule (UCMR) project.
  • SLD's Radiochemistry Program received re-certification status for Drinking Water testing following inspection by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Biological Sciences Bureau:

  • Increased laboratory testing capacity with the introduction of three new tests:  Bacterial Sequencing, Whole Genome Sequencing (for foodborne bacteria) and Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption - Time of Flight organism identification.
  • Replaced the Multispot HIV-1/HIV-2 Rapid Test(r) system with the Geenius(r) system for confirmation of Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
  • Completed an annual inspection by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Federal Select Agent Program's Division of Select Agents & Toxins.

Toxicology Bureau:

  • Introduced a quantitative test for buprenorphine, a drug used in opioid addiction and pain treatment.

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