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SMT programme survey on reference materials

The Standards, Measurement and Testing (SMT) programme is conducting a survey on reference materials. The aim of the survey is to identify what reference materials are being used in European laboratories with a view to anticipating the growing needs for reference materials in ...
The Standards, Measurement and Testing (SMT) programme is conducting a survey on reference materials. The aim of the survey is to identify what reference materials are being used in European laboratories with a view to anticipating the growing needs for reference materials in Europe.

Reference materials and certified reference materials (CRMs) are one of the essential tools for good analytical quality control. The European Commission has been active in the production of certified reference materials for some 25 years through the Community Bureau of Reference (BCR). The importance of the use of reference materials and CRMs is increasingly being highlighted, with inter-laboratory studies frequently illustrating the lack of quality control of different types of analysis, as well as the requirement to use these materials specified in accreditation systems.

Despite this increasing recognition, however, much still needs to be done to inform laboratories about the importance of quality control measures, training of personnel and the dissemination of material related to available CRMs. The SMT survey will, on the basis of a questionnaire (in the respective languages of the participating countries) sent to selected laboratories in the EU and Associated States, establish what use is currently made of reference materials and identify possible needs.

The questionnaire (English version only) is also available within the December 1997 issue of the SMT Newsletter, "Measurement and Testing", which can also be found on the SMT home page on the World Wide Web. These should be submitted to national contact points in each Member State, as detailed in the Newsletter.

The results of the questionnaire will be discussed at a workshop involving reference materials producers, end users and experts, to be held in Bazas, close to Bordeaux, France, in May 1998. The workshop will also discuss aspects of reference material selection, production and use, as well as present and future needs for reference materials.

Source: European Commission, DG XII

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