European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC)

ERM-CE102: a new certified reference material for polybrominated flame retardants in fish

The JRC released a new fish Certified Reference Material for the analysis of the flame retardants polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).

PBDEs are toxic and endocrine-disruptive substances that have to be monitored in the environment (EU Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC) and in food (Commission Recommendation 2014/118/EU). Despite the ban and restriction on their production and use since 15 years, PBDEs are bio-accumulative contaminants still found ubiquitously in our environment and food.

They are regulated by the EU Water Framework Directive not to exceed an environmental quality standard in water and biota (fish). They have to be monitored in fish and seafood (among other food commodities) with analytical methods capable of reaching a set limit of quantification.

Both in environmental and food-related legislation, the analysis of reference materials is recommended for ensuring the quality and comparability of measurement results. The new Certified Reference Material (ERM®-CE102) satisfies this need and this will thus increase accuracy and comparability of measurement results targeting compliance with these regulations.

ERM®-CE102 was produced as a wet paste of fish tissue homogenate and certified (relative to wet weight) for the following PBDEs of primary interest: BDE-47, -99, -100, -153 and -154. Indicative values were assigned to BDE-28 and -183.

The commutability (or similarity of analytical behavior to routine samples) of ERM®-CE102 is ensured by the use of naturally contaminated fish for its preparation and by its presentation as wet paste.

The certified values were assigned relative to wet weight, thereby avoiding the application of dry to wet mass fraction conversion factors (as would be necessary in the case of freeze-dried materials).

ERM®-CE102 will be a useful quality assurance/quality control tool for compliance check towards legal limits, especially if established on a wet weight basis (e.g. WFD environmental quality standards, limit of quantification in the food control sector).

Further details on ERM®-CE102 can be found in the certificate and certification report available in our on-line catalogue: ERM-CE102.