Title: Intercomparison Exercise for Heavy Metals in PM10
Publisher: OPOCE
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC42519
ISBN: 978-92-79-08206-1
ISSN: 1018-5593
Other Identifiers: EUR 23219 EN
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC42519
DOI: 10.2788/63349
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: The Joint Research Centre (JRC) has carried out an Intercomparison Exercise (IE) for the determination of heavy metals in particulate matter (PM10). The IE focussed on Lead (Pb), Arsenic (As), Nickel (Ni) and Cadmium (Cd), the heavy metals regulated by the 1st and 4th Daughter Directives for Air Pollution. Copper (Cu), Chromium (Cr) and Zinc (Zn), the elements included in the EMEP programme together with Aluminium (Al), Cobalt (Co), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn) and Vanadium (V) were also tested. Fourteen Laboratories, generally members of the Network of Air Quality Reference Laboratories (AQUILA), participated in the IE. The participants mainly used microwave digestion with nitric acid and hydrogen peroxide and Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) or Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (GF-AAS) for analysis as recommended in the reference method (EN 14902). However, a few participants used other methods: Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF), Atomic Emission Spectrometry (ICP-AES) and Voltammetry for analysis and vaporisation on hot plate before microwave digestion, Soxhlet extraction, high pressure or cold Hydrogen Fluoride methods for digestion. Each participant received 5 samples to be analysed: a liquid sample prepared by dilution of a Certified Reference Material (CRM), a solution of a dust CRM sample digested by the JRC13F, a sub-sample of a dust CRM that each participating laboratory had to digest and analyse, a solution prepared by JRC after digestion of an exposed filter and a pair of filters (one blank filter and one exposed filter) to be digested and analysed by each participant. For 89 % of all types of samples, the DQOs of the 1st and 4th European Directives (uncertainty of 25 % for Pb and 40 % for As, Cd and Ni) were met. All together, this is a very good score. The best results were obtained for the liquid CRM, dust CRM digested by JRC, dust CRM and filter digested by JRC with 92, 90, 96 and 93 % of DQOs being met, respectively. It was found that the DQOs were not met if the difference of acidity between test samples and participant calibration standards was high. Conversely, only 76 % of DQOs were met for the filter to be digested by each participant with (about 85 % for Cd and Ni, 73/64 % for Pb and As, the most difficult element to determine). The worst results were associated with special events: explosion in microwave oven during digestion for two participants, a wrong dilution factor used by one participant and a huge contamination in the blank filter for another participant. Among the two explosions, one of them was probably the effect of a lack of temperature control in the digestion vessel. For the other explosion, the microwave digestion and the digestion program advised by EN 14902 is to be questioned. Moreover, satisfactory results were obtained using Soxhlet extraction, high pressure method and cold Hydrogen Fluoride digestion methods which are not presented in EN 14902. The DQOs of As and Cd could not be met with EDXRF whose limit of detection was too high for these two elements and for Cd using Voltammetry which suffered a strong interference for this element. Regarding the methods of analysis, apart the points mentioned just before about EDXRF and Voltammetry, good results were observed using ICP-OES for Cd, Ni and Pb. A few discrepancies were also registered for GF-AAS and ICP-MS but they were created by the special events or acidity problem mentioned before. This shows that even though GF-AAS and ICP-MS are found suitable, the implementation by each participant may be responsible for important mistakes.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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