European Commission, JRC, Directorate F - Health, Consumers and Reference Materials

Helping the EU Member States in monitoring the water quality: two new Certified Reference Materials for the analysis of priority organic pollutants in

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ERM-CA100 and ERM-CE100

The JRC released two new certified reference materials (CRMs) to support the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC, WFD). These new CRMs, representative of water and biota routine samples, will help ensuring the quality and comparability of the results generated by the analytical laboratories officially appointed by the EU Member States in the context of the mandatory monitoring of the environmental water status.

Since 2000, the WFD stands as the overarching tool enforced by the EC for preserving and improving the quality of European surface waters. Among the specific measures for pollution control, the establishment of Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) for priority substances plays a key role. EQS are defined as threshold limits that should not be exceeded to protect human health and the environment and are set in water and, for some PS, also in biota (mostly fish). The WFD daughter Directive 2009/90/EC requires the monitoring laboratories to demonstrate their competence through the use of Reference Materials (RMs) that are representative of collected samples and that contain appropriate levels of the priority substances in relation to the respective EQS.

Therefore, two CRMs were produced as quality control tools for the analysis of selected WFD PS: ERM®-CA100, a water RM certified for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and ERM®-CE100, a fish RM certified for hexachlorobenzene and hexachlorobutadiene (HCBD).

ERM®-CA100 was developed as a natural water matrix CRM addressing the requirements of the WFD for “whole water sample” analysis. It is available as a kit that includes surface water, a humic acids solution and a solution of PAHs. A reconstitution protocol needs to be strictly followed to obtain the CRM, wherein humic acids are present to simulate organic matter.

ERM®-CE100 was produced as a fish paste matrix CRM aiming at simulating the routinely analysed fish samples (and also in consideration of the fact that biota EQS are expressed as mass fraction relative to wet weight). It is provided as a 'wet' material (in contrast to the more commonly available freeze-dried powder biota materials) and it is the first biota CRM ever available for HCBD.

Further details on the two CRMs ERM®-CA100 and ERM®-CE100 can be found in the certificates and certification reports available in our on-line catalogue: ERM-CA100 and ERM-CE100.

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