Every year in the United States, millions of measurements are made on the chemical composition of items that affect us on a daily basis. The accuracy of these measurements is routinely determined by the analysis of appropriate reference materials. In the field of earth science, reference materials are particularly important because they help us develop a better understanding of the processes that have shaped, and continue to shape the world around us. USGS reference materials are distributed internationally to organizations involved in geochemical and environmental analysis, instrumentation and methods development, and industrial research and quality assurance. Reference materials are widely used in the development and validation of geochemical models used by the USGS.