Overly optimistic estimates of detection limits can result in the use of unrealistic conservatism for decisions about the presence of activity. In some practical counting situations, overly conservative detection limits can result in economically impractical actions. To help preclude such actions, systematic error bounds, uncertainties, and confidence levels can be used when determining critical levels (Lc), detection limits (Ld), and minimum detectable concentrations. This note discusses the selection of such error bounds and the development of detection limit parameters for practical applications. These parameters are shown to be successfully employed in sample activity and measurement process capability decisions for typical counting instruments.
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