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LGC scientist shares water pollutant research in environmental analysis e-seminar

24 Jul 2014
A scientist from LGC’s Inorganic Analysis Team within the Science and Innovation division was invited to talk about his research into accurate determination of polybrominated flame retardants in environmental waters at an eSeminar featuring leading experts in environmental analysis.

The online seminar, which was held on 24 and 26 June, focused on new methods and applications in environmental analysis.

Panayot Petrov outlined his work to develop traceable methods for the accurate determination of the total concentration and partitioning of polybrominated flame retardants (PBDEs) in support of the implementation of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD, Directive 2000/60/EC).

PBDEs have been shown to be carcinogenic in animal studies and have been identified by the WFD as a critical pollutant. By providing validated reference methods for PBDEs, these compounds can be monitored in environmental waters to ensure they meet European water quality standards.

Panayot described the development of a gas chromatography-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (GC-ICP-MS) method to quantify the six target PBDE congeners (28, 47, 100, 99, 154 and 153). The method has been validated and a full uncertainty budget was provided.

Panayot explained: “The accurate determination of critical pollutants in water samples is still challenging for many chemical laboratories due to the extremely low limits of quantification required. There is an urgent need to develop a reference method which can provide reference values to help field laboratories to validate their water quality monitoring methods.”

Methods to extract the target PBDEs from water samples based on liquid/liquid extraction were optimised. Panayot explained that the developed method is capable of analysing the target pollutants in challenging samples, which was demonstrated by the analysis of a model water system containing a high amount of organic colloids (Humic Acid) and PBDEs at the low levels required by the WFD. The method was also successfully applied to environmental water samples (River Thames water) and the obtained uncertainties were better than those required by the WFD.

The research was carried out by Panayot and colleagues at LGC in its role as the UKs National Measurement Institute for Chemical and Biological Metrology under its Innovation, Research and Development programme and is co-funded by the European Metrology Research Programme.

The eSeminar was organised by Separation Science and was aimed at analysts working across the environmental analysis sectors involved in the detection and characterisation of contaminants and hazardous substances. It can be accessed here.