Currently, and in support of the industrial development phase, production control and quality management, the European polymer industry needs to determine more than 60 elements in polymer material, in concentrations ranging from percent down to the ng/kg level. For the European polymer industry alone, this consitutes an estimated annual cost of about 50 MECU. These analyses reflect the determination of additives, catalytic residues and contaminants in a polymer material. To improve the accuracy and precision of the currently used analytical measurement protocols, certified reference materials (CRMs) are an ideal tool. However, CRMs of this type are lacking. Furthermore, from an environmental point of view, the lack of suitable CRMs for heavy element determination impedes the effective implementation of the EC Directive 94/62 concerning plastics packaging and packaging material. This directive regulates the amount of heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Hg and Pb) in plastics and was issued in December 1994.
The objective of the project is the production and certification of a set of CRMs to be used for element analysis, more specifically the production and certification of one set of two consumable synthetic polymer reference materials consisting of a polyolefinic base material doped with Cd, Cr, Hg and Pb at two levels of concentrations, namely ca. 100 mg/kg for each element (except Hg at ca. 10 mg/kg) and ca. 10 mg/kg for each element (except Hg at ca. 1 mg/kg). Furthermore, the material will be doped with an certified for As, S, Cl and Br. In addition, an intercomparison of analytical methods used for the determination of the above elements in polymer material will be organised among European laboratories; European polymer manufacturers will participate in this project.
The primary material has been designed, produced, tested for its homogeneity and stability and has been shipped to the laboratories participating in the interlaboratory study of which the results were discussed in a technical meeting in November 1997.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
TS6 8JE Middlesbrough
TW11 0LY Teddington
9001 St. Gallen
1755 LE Petten