Reference materials producers launch new European initiative

26-Apr-2004

Public confidence in the results of chemical and biological measurements is important in many aspects of modern society, including consumer protection in food consumption, healthcare, environmental protection and fair trade. reference materials are cornerstones of modern quality assurance of such measurements. To enhance further the quality, reliability and available range of such reference materials, three major European producers have decided to join their forces at a new level of international co-operation. The Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM), an institute of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, LGC of the United Kingdom and the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) of Germany have established the European Reference Material (ERM®) concept and will launch it to the public at analytica 2004. IRMM, LGC and BAM will hold a press conference to launch ERM® on 11 May 2004 at 12:00pm in Conference room B13, First floor, Hall B1, Neue Messe Munich, Germany.

Certified Reference Materials with the new trademark ERM® fulfil harmonised quality criteria based on modern international guidelines. Speaking at the press conference, Professor Hendrik Emons (IRMM) will explain the aims and opportunities of the ERM® concept. Moreover, he will illustrate, using the example of ERMs for genetically modified food, how such reference materials contribute to the surveillance of the implementation of EU legislation.

Dr John Marriott (LGC) will give an overview of the range of ERMs developed to support measurements related to environment and health, with a specific focus on the development of reference materials for low sulfur fuels. In order to reduce environmental pollution, the level of sulfur in fuels is being progressively reduced by European legislation. In collaboration with the oil and petroleum industry, the ERM® partnership is developing a range of materials to help with sound analysis at the lower levels, thus supporting corresponding environmental regulations.

Professor Irene Nehls (BAM) will introduce different kinds of metals and alloys as Certified Reference Materials. Two of the newest materials that fulfil the ERM® quality criteria are based on the alloys used for the production of the new EURO coins. The exact compliance with the legal specifications for these alloys forms the basis for the verification of adulteration of coinage and for the identification of coins in vending machines. Therefore, the reference materials are important instruments for coin producers to ensure the quality of their products and to control the correctness of their specifications.

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