Method for Mercury Determination
Speciation for Validation Measurements of a Method for Determination of Mercury in Ambient Air and Deposition
Finanziamento: EC DG Environment/NEN/CEN/CMC/DIN (Contr. No. CENT/TC 264/WG 25/335)
Periodo: September 2006-December 2008
Budget totale progetto:---
Budget totale CNR IIA:---
Responsabile Scientifico: Nicola Pirrone

Abstract del progetto

The objective considered in the Sixth Environment Action Programme is to achieve levels of air quality that do not give rise to unacceptable impacts on, and risks to, human health and the environment. The Community is acting at many levels to reduce exposure to air pollution: through EC legislation, through work at the wider international level in order to reduce cross-border pollution, through working with sectors responsible for air pollution and with national, regional authorities and through research. Mercury is a particularly insidious and difficult pollutant to manage. Its ability to exist in several physical states and chemical forms at commonly-encountered conditions of temperature and pressure, and propensity to undergo biological transformations, means that it is subject to complex and difficult-to-predict changes in concentration and form.
Environmental monitoring studies thus must consider a variety of physical changes, geochemical reactions, and biochemical interactions in an attempt to understand the specific local conditions that contribute to mercury levels found in different environmental ecosystems.

The technical work includes the validation tests for Total Gaseous Mercury (TGM) and mercury deposition. In order to validate a method, it shall be necessary to know the performance of the method and, therefore, to characterize it through the evaluation of some characteristics (i.e. specificity/selectivity, repeatability/reproducibility, linearity, limit of the detection). Methods for TGM concentrations as well as different types of deposition samplers (bulk, Bergerhoff and wet-only) need to be tested and the experiments for their evaluation will be defined and optimised. Sampling and analytical methods will be tested over a 12 months period at both local/industrial and background (coastal/rural) sites. To validate the drafted method the field tests will be carried out at four different European measurement sites (2 local/industrial and 2 remote/background). The field validation tests will last two months at each of the four stations.
Although there are different automated and manual techniques available for determining TGM concentrations in ambient air, there is no standardised method to produce measurement data of a known and verifiable quality and which are of quality sufficient to meet overall objectives of the air quality monitoring investigation. At this stage only the European standard method for the determination of the mercury concentration in water samples (EN 13506) exists but no standard method exists for the determination of mercury in precipitation.
The availability of standardized methods for TGM in ambient air and mercury deposition will be fundamental to an efficient implementation of EC legislation on ambient air quality and to harmonise the present air quality data.
The general objective is to elaborate fully validated and traceable European standard methods for TGM in Ambient Air and Total Mercury in precipitation samples that will ensure the representativeness , comparability, accuracy and precision of data measured by all Member States and the adoption of standard QA/QC protocol
• CNR-Institute for Atmospheric Pollution (CNR-IIA), Italy – COORDINATORE
• Vlaamse Milieumaatschappij (VMM), Belgium
• Institute Salud Carlos III (ISC) Centro Nacional de Sanidad Ambiental, Spain
• CNational Physical Laboratory (NPL), UK
• Institut Jozef Stafan – (IJS) Department of Environmental Sciences, Slovenija
• Swedish Environmental Research Institute IVL, Sweden

Nicola Pirrone
Francesca Sprovieri