Certified reference materials for inorganic and organic contaminants in environmental matrices

Ulberth, Franz
November 2006
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Nov2006, Vol. 386 Issue 4, p1121
Academic Journal
Chemical measurements often constitute the basis for informed decision-making at different levels in society; sound decision-making is possible only if the quality of the data used is uncompromised. To guarantee the reliability and comparability of analytical data an intricate system of quality-assurance measures has to be put into effect in a laboratory. Reference materials and, in particular, certified reference materials (CRMs) are essential for achieving traceability and comparability of measurement results between laboratories and over time. As in any other domain of analytical chemistry, techniques used to monitor the levels and fate of contaminants in the environment must be calibrated using appropriate calibration materials, and the methods must be properly validated using fit-for-purpose matrix-matched CRMs, to ensure confidence in the data produced. A sufficiently large number of matrix CRMs are available for analysis of most elements, and the group of chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants, in environmental compartments and biota. The wide variety of analyte/level/matrix/matrix property combinations available from several suppliers enables analysts to select CRMs which sufficiently match the properties of the samples they analyse routinely. Materials value-assigned for the so-called emerging pollutants are scarce at the moment, though an objective of current development programmes of CRM suppliers is to overcome this problem.


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