Quality and comparability of measurement of potentially toxic elements in urban soils by a group of European laboratories

Christine M. Davidson, Alison Nordon, Graham J. Urquhart, Franco Ajmone-Marsan, Mattia Biasioli, Armando C. Duarte, Encarnation Diaz-Barrientos, Helena Grcman, Andreja Hodnik, Iain Hossack, Andrew S. Hursthouse, Karin Ljung, Fernando Madrid, Erasmus Otabbong, Sonia Rodrigues

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


A study has been conducted to assess the quality and comparability of measurement of aqua-regia-soluble cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, manganese, nickel, lead, and zinc in urban soils within a small cohort of European research laboratories specializing in soil science or environmental analytical chemistry. An initial survey indicated that highly variable levels of analytical quality control (e.g. use of certified reference materials) were routinely implemented in participant laboratories. When a set of soil samples-differing in metal contents and in characteristics such as pH and organic-matter content-were exchanged and analysed, approximately 20% of results differed from target values by more than 25%. A principal-component analysis was applied to data for chromium, copper, nickel, lead, and zinc, and proved successful in assessing overall laboratory performance. The study indicates that greater prominence needs to be given to quality assurance and control if comparable data are to be generated in international, collaborative research projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-601
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • urban soil
  • potentially toxic elements
  • principal-component analysis
  • metals
  • ash


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