Skip to main content
EU Science Hub
News article3 April 2018

Release of a new seawater certified reference material

CRM for better control of the quality of environmental water samples
© Iakov Kalinin -

The JRC has released ERM‑CA403 - a new Certified Reference Material (CRM) based on seawater that was certified for the mass concentrations of eight trace elements. This CRM enables better control of the quality of environmental water samples.

Directive 2013/39/EU on environmental quality standards for surface waters lists priority substances, including cadmium, nickel, lead and their compounds for which Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) were set.

Furthermore, Directive 2009/90/EC lays down technical specifications for chemical analysis and monitoring of water status to ensure the quality and comparability of analytical results generated by the Member States. Among other criteria, this Directive also requests that EU laboratories shall ensure their competence in analysing relevant physico-chemical or chemical parameters by the analysis of available reference materials. The latter should be representative of collected samples and contain appropriate levels of concentrations in relation to relevant Environmental Quality Standards.

Therefore the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) developed the new Certified Reference Material (CRM) ERM‑CA403, with certified values for the priority substances cadmium, nickel and lead, and additionally for the trace elements arsenic, cobalt, copper, manganese and molybdenum.

Natural seawater was used to prepare the CRM and elements were spiked to the sea water to ensure that concentrations are measureable by modern analytical techniques.

ERM‑CA403 was processed, characterised and certified following ISO Guide 34.

Details about material sampling, processing, characterisation and certification are described in the certification report, which together with the certificate are available in the JRC's online catalogue.

Related Content


JRC Certified Reference Materials Catalogue


Publication date
3 April 2018