Microplastics Analysis Workshop Gears Up for First Interlaboratory Study

Microplastics Analysis Workshop Gears Up for First Interlaboratory Study

29 November 2018

A dynamic Microplastics Analysis Workshop hosted by the Dept. of E&H attracted over 110 participants from 24countries, filling the VU’s O|2 Auditorium for two fast-paced, informative days (27 & 28 Nov 2018). Participants engaged in open discussions on the quality assurance/quality control (‘QA/QC’) needs of analytical laboratories and data users. High-quality presentations of microplastics analytical approaches in theory and practice were given by an excellent line-up of guest speakers and poster presenters. The VU-NIVA-QUASIMEME-NORMAN scientific organizing committee presented a proposal for a microplastics interlaboratory study, built up of consecutive rounds of sample analyses of increasing complexity and listened carefully to the feedback from the participants on their needs for the study design.

The interlaboratory study now in preparation will be open (2019) to any microplastics analysis laboratory with an interest of joining a community engaged in learning exercises and increasing and demonstrating their proficiency with this notoriously challenging new target analyte class. ‘Microplastic’ is a catch-all phrase for plastic particles spanning 6 orders of magnitude in particle size and a gigantic variety of chemical compositions:  (co)polymers, chemical additives, residual monomers, fillers, catalysts, non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) etc. The diversity of this analyte class gives rise to a search for a mix of methodologies to answer the burning questions in microplastic research and to scientifically support plastic pollution mitigation policies under consideration by state and non-state actors.

To get involved, to subscribe for updates and/or participate in the upcoming first round of the interlaboratory, send an email to quasimeme@wur.nl (or one of the organising committee members below) and keep an eye on the www.quasimeme.org and the E&H websites.

The Dept. of Environment and Health of the Vrije Universiteit has recognized the need for an open interlaboratory study on plastic particles and teamed up with interlaboratory study provider QUASIMEME, the NORMAN Network and NIVA to meet this need. The event was organized by Heather Leslie, Louise van Mourik, Jacob de Boer, (VU E&H) and Bert van Bavel (NIVA), in collaboration with Steven Crum, Esther van den Berg of QUASIMEME, and Wim Cofino of QUASIMEME and NORMAN. The organisers thank the E&H grad students and staff who contributed to the smooth and pleasant running of the workshop: Deepti Siddhanti, Glenn Spiessens, Martin van Velzen and Renate Mooij. 

Microplastics Analytics Workshop report

Louise van Mourik: l.m.van.mourik@vu.nl | Heather Leslie: heather.leslie@vu.nl | Jacob de Boer: jacob.de.boer@vu.nl