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Reference materials for pollution control


Specific Objectives

- To prepare, certify and provide environmental CRMs to users world-wide as required to support international environmental control and monitoring programmes as well as in measurements aimed at obtaining data for the underlying scientific knowledge of global change mechanisms.
- To develop specific reference materials needed for proficiency testing schemes and QA/QC programmes, as organised on behalf of the European Commission by CEN and among regulatory and monitoring bodies for pollution control;
- IRMM will maintain it's flexibility to quickly produce and certify environmental CRMs, if a crisis situation arises.
Planned Deliverables

Specific Deliverables to DGs
-Production of validation samples (aerosol RM) to be used in the validation of a CEN draft for a Reference method for the determination of Pb/Cd/Ni/As in ambient air (DG ENV);
-Provided the envisaged funding through a shared cost action, production of validation samples for testing horizontal standards for the determination of physical properties, inorganic and organic contaminants in sludge's, sludge treated soils and compost materials (DG RTD and ENV).

Deliverables as a result of the research
IRMM will continue to renew, maintain, produce and distribute BCR and IRMM CRMs needed for environmental monitoring and protection. In particular, certification of:
- three sediment CRMs for trace metals;
- an incineration ash CRM;
- a CRM for heavy metals in ambient air particulate matter on filter membrane;
- sulfur in gas oil.

Summary of deliverables made by: 31/12/2001

Three CRM's for trace elements in waste water DG ENV
Supporting the implementation of Directives 91/271/EEC on municipal waste water treatment and the new Water Policy Framework Directive 2000/60/EC.
After filling and sealing of 3000 ampoules for CRMs 713, 714 and 715 respectively, the samples were distributed to 16 laboratories for the certification campaign. Samples for homogeneity and stability testing were also dispatched and those remaining were stored at 4ºC at IRMM. The certification meeting yielded very good results all elements will be certified.

Incineration ash BCR-176R (preparation, homogeneity control, stability control and certification)
This is a CRM renewal task under the DG RTD-IRMM agreement and supports the implementation of Directives 89/369 and 89/429/EEC on emissions from waste incineration plants as well as the new proposal COM (99)330.
Measurements for micro-homogeneity using ETV-ICP-MS were completed and evaluated. All measurement results including those for certification, homogeneity and stability were evaluated. A certification meeting was held at IRMM and all 15 elements but one can be certified. Measurements on that element are ongoing.

Certification of the 1st generic aerosol CRM DG ENV
-To support implementation of the Air Quality Framework Directive 96/62/EC and its daughter directives (e.g. 1999/30/EC), setting limit values for several heavy metals in air;
- To support the development of a reference method for As, Cd, Ni and Pb (CEN-TC 264 WG 14) to be used in air quality monitoring.
Based on a discussion on the measurement results of validation samples from 3 external PIXE labs, homogeneity measurements were started at the PIXE lab in Prague. All results of the ICP-MS certification measurements were received (38 samples). All homogeneity measurements (= 360 samples) were also completed through PIXE analysis in Prague.

The EUROSOILS were proposed as QA/QC-tool within the framework of the revision of the European Sludge Directive 79/831/EEC.
A certification meeting was organised by IRMM in January 2001. The submitted data allow certification of the adsorption coefficients for atrazine, 2,4-D and lindane, the pH, as well as the total N, total C and total organic C. The certification report was completed and first sales have been made based on the preliminary certificate.

Participation in CCQM-P11 As in shellfish BIPM and DG RTD
Demonstrating high metrological level of k0-NAA measurements at IRMM used for RM certification.
The results of k0-NAA are in very good agreement (Z-score = 0.4) with the mean value for the inter-comparison (only National Metrology Institutes and their designated laboratories participated in this round).

Output Indicators and Impact
- Publish certification reports and certificates for:
- three sediment CRMs for trace metals;
- an incineration ash CRM;
- a CRM for heavy metals in ambient air particulate matter on filter membrane;
- sulfur in gas oil.
Summary of the project

Certified Reference Materials (CRMs) ensure the reliability and comparability of environmental measurements. In this project particular focus is given to CRMs for dioxines and furanes, trace elements in polymers, aerosol particulates, trace elements for wastewater and sediment and production of Proficiency Testing samples. The main customers for this project are laboratories active in the field of pollution control and monitoring and, as in the past, the project will continue to be demand driven.


Certified Reference Materials (CRM) are increasingly required to achieve comparability and improve the reliability of environmental measurements performed in different laboratories, Member States and Candidate Countries - mainly to prevent and control environmental pollution, but also to provide the scientific reference system needed for measurements into the underlying scientific knowledge base of global climate change. In order to implement European Directives related to pollution control and health protection, and to subsequently monitor EU policy implementation in the pollution control sector, the harmonisation of measurement procedures in the Member States is an urgent necessity.
IRMM and the Candidate Countries has unique high technology equipment and expertise for the efficient production of a large variety of highest quality environmental reference materials in all sectors: air, water and soil.

Call for proposal

Data not available


Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements
B-2440 Geel

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