Analitical quality control

Since the seventies the laboratory has worked on perfecting  a system of rigorous quality control of all the analytical methods used. The development of increasingly sophisticated equipment, allowing the generation of a large quantity of data, has inevitably led to greater focus on the quality of these data.  In addition, the existence of monitoring networks active both nationally and internationally, involving many different laboratories,  raise the question of the comparability of the results.  Lastly, environmental monitoring performed to comply with national and European legislation makes it essential for participating laboratories to reach common quality standards.

However, analytical activity is only one phase of the measuring process.  Sampling procedures also have a marked impact on the significance of the end results, i.e. on their representativity and the descriptive value of the system under examination. The most frequent errors are the non-representativity of the samples and the risk of contamination.The ultimate quality of the data is also affected by the methods of preservation and treatment of the samples (filtration, vial collection,  homogenization,  dilution, etc), the structure of the laboratory, the analytical staff and a number of other variables.

The demands of precision and accuracy have been a prime concern in the Institute from its inception, with great care being taken with the organisation of analyses in aspects relating to the structure of the laboratory as well as to actual analytical practice.

Since the 80s repeatability control charts have been applied to blanks, calibration standards, natural and synthetic samples, with comparison and optimisation of different analytical techniques and their limits of detection, and with regular participation in proficiency tests at national and international level. All this has made it possible to further optimise the analytical methods used in studying the temporal evolution of surface waters and atmospheric deposition

Currently, internal and external AQC are performed regularly in the water chemistry laboratory of the CNR-ISE of Verbania