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Use of Matrix Reference Materials in Environmental Analytical Processes

Edited by A. Fajgelj1 and M. Parkany2
1International Atomic Energy Agency, Seibersdorf, Austria
2Digart Ltd, geneva, Switzerland

The Royal Society of Chemistry, 1999 [ISBN 0 85404 739 5]

This book contains lectures presented at the workshop on "Proper Use of Environmental Matrix Reference Materials", held on April 22 and 23, 1999 in Berlin, Germany. The IUPAC Interdivisional Working Party on Harmonisation of Quality Assurance Schemes for Analytical Laboratories, ISO/REMCO (ISO Committee on Reference Materials), the German Federal Institute of Materials Research and Testing (BAM) and EUROLAB - Germany have co-operated in organisation of this event.

The idea for this workshop originated from an informal discussion at the BERM-7 conference, held in Antwerp, Belgium in April 1997, where many of the problems related to environmental and biological reference materials were highlighted. The characterisation and certification of environmental matrix reference materials is fraught with many complex problems related to traceability and uncertainty of the assigned property values. These are the same materials which are, due to variety of reasons, often misused in the analytical process. Although the analysts are normally instructed on the intended use of the material in the accompanying certificate, the role of matrix reference materials in the analytical process is not always clear. One of the reasons for misuse is the confusion in the nomenclature where similar or the same terms are often used for different types of calibration standards, RM or CRM and internal control samples.

The contributions in this book represent the reference materials producers' point of view of how their reference materials should be properly utilised in an analytical process. A possible application of reference materials is often compared with the guidelines on proper use of reference materials and the requirements of international guides related to reference materials. Worked examples provide additional practical information to the users of reference materials and give guidance for decisions that can be taken on the basis of analytical results obtained on reference materials. Information on future plans and strategies, included in some of the contributions, is also useful for the reader in the sense of having realistic expectations related to availability of SI-traceable natural matrix reference materials in near future, their role in analytical process and as a possible tool for more practical establishment of traceability chains and uncertainty budgets. There are also contributions related to the ISO/REMCO, a central international body dealing with harmonisation and standardisation of topics related to reference materials and the ISO Guide 33, entitled "Proper use of reference materials".

We hope that the practical examples and discussions presented in this book will help the users of reference materials to better understand the quality requirements that reference materials have to fulfil before being selected and applied for a specific purpose in an analytical laboratory. The book, written by reference materials producers, is oriented toward the users - scientists, researchers, technicians and students who use natural matrix reference materials in their daily laboratory work.



Page last modified 22 July 1999.
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