There are currently numerous analytical methods to assess microplastic pollution, making it difficult to compare the results between published studies. A general lack of reference materials has been hampering the necessary validation of these methods. Numerous types of microplastics RMs are still required to improve this situation.
The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) developed a microplastic reference material to tackle this issue. In addition, they organised an inter-laboratory comparison study in collaboration with the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) to evaluate the measurement results produced by more than 100 expert laboratories from different countries around the world. The relatively high scatter of the results confirmed the need to validate and harmonise the analytical methods used to assess microplastics.
To bring educators on the same page as scientists and safeguard the validity and accuracy of the data and results in citizen science campaigns co-created with secondary schools, the JRC is preparing dedicated microplastic reference materials within the Erasmus Maris initiative.
Ayam Sailing Europe Aisbl