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All about certified reference materials (CRMs)

A Certified Reference Material (CRM) is a reference material characterized by a metrologically valid procedure for one or more specified properties, accompanied by a certificate that provides the value of the specified property, its associated uncertainty, and a statement of metrological traceability.

 Related EVISA Resources

Material Database: Certified Reference Materials
Company Database: Producers of CRMs
Company Database: Producers of Reference materials
 Company Database: Producers of Standards
Journal Database: Journals related to Metrology
Journal Database: Journals related to Quality Control and Quality Assurance
Link Page: All about QA/QC
Brief summary: Certified Reference Materials for Speciation Analysis
Brief summary: EVISA's Material Database

Related guidelines

EURACHEM EEE/RM/062rev3: The Selection and use of Reference Materials (2002)

ILAC G17:2002 Introducing the Concept of Uncertainty of Measurement in Testing in Association with the Application of the Standard ISO/IEC 17025 – under revision
This document describes how the concept of uncertainty of measurement should be introduced taking into account present state of the art understanding. It is realised that during the course of the implementation of ISO/IEC 17025, suitable sector-specific guidance will be needed. However, the harmonisation of the application of the principles of uncertainty of measurement in testing between different disciplines, industry sectors and economies should remain the main goal. (Proposed revisions are on hold until current revisions of ISO/IEC 17025 and GUM are finalised in relation to this topic.)

ISO Guide 30: 1992 - Terms and definitions used in connection with reference materials
ISO Guide 31: 2000 - Contents of certificates & labels of reference materials
ISO Guide 32: 1997 - Calibration in analytical chemistry and use of certified reference materials
ISO Guide 33: 2000 - Uses of certified reference materials
ISO Guide 34: 2009 - General requirements for the competence of reference material producers
ISO Guide 35: 2006 - Reference materials - General and statistical principles for certification
ISO Technical report 10989 (2008) Reference materials - Guidance on, and keywords used for RM categorisation

NIST Special Publication 260-100 (1993): Standard Reference Materials - Handbook for SRM Users
NIST Special Publication 260-125: Standard Reference Materials: Statistical aspects of the certification of chemical batch SRMs

WHO: Recommendations for the preparation, characterization and establishment of international and other biological reference standards (revised 2004)

Related Literature

S.J. Nagourney, S.A. Wilson, S.E. Long, Using reference materials to improve the quality of data generated by USEPA analytical methods, Environ. Sci. Processes Impacts, 18/12 (2016) 1477-1483. doi: 10.1039/c6em00438e

Katherine E. Sharpless, Katrice A. Lippa, David L. Duewer, Andrew L. Rukhin, The ABC of Using Standard Reference Materials in the Analysis of Foods and Dietary Supplements: A Practical Guide, NIST Special Publication 260-181, 2014.

K. Kupiec, P. Konieczka, J. Namiesnik, Prospects for the Production, Research and Utilization of Reference Materials, Crit. Rev. Anal. Chem., 39/4 (2009) 311-322. DOI: 10.1080/10408340903253182

T. Venelinov, A. Sahuquillo, Optimizing the uses and the costs of reference materials in analytical laboratories, Trends Anal. Chem., 25/5 (2006) 528-533. DOI: 10.1016/j.trac.2006.02.006

Hendrik Emons, Andrea Held, Franz Ulberth, Reference materials as crucial tools for quality assurance and control in food analysis, Pure Appl. Chem., 78/1 (2006) 135-143. DOI: 10.1351/pac200678010135

M. Thompson, S.L.R. Ellison, R. Wood, The international harmonized protocol for the proficiency testing of analytical chemistry laboratories, Pure Appl. Chem. 78 (2006) 145-196. doi:10.1351/pac200678010145

Lars Jorhem, Certified reference materials as a quality tool in food control: much used- often misused- sometimes abused, Accred. Qual. Assur., 9/6 (2004) 305-310. DOI: 10.1007/s00769-003-0744-3

R. Cornelis, H. Crews, O.F.X. Donard, L. Ebdon, P. Quevauviller, Trends in certified reference materials for the speciation of trace elements, Fresenius J. Anal. Chem., 370/2-3 (2001) 120-125. DOI: 10.1007/s002160100709

Thomas P.J. Linsinger, Jean Pauwels, Adriaan M.H. van der Veen, Heinz Schimmel, Andre Lamberty, Homogeneity and stability of reference materials,  Accred. Qual. Assur., 6/1 (2001) 20–25. DOI: 10.1007/s007690000261

Thomas P.J. Linsinger, Jean Pauwels, Andre Lamberty, Heinz Schimmel, Adriaan M.H. van der Veen, Lothar Siekman, Estimating the uncertainty of stability for matrix CRMs, Fres. J. Anal. Chem., 370 (2001) 183-188. DOI: 10.1007/s002160100719

M. May, R. Parris, J. Beck, J. Fassett, R. Greenberg, F. Guenther, G. Kramer, S. Wise, T. Gills, J. Colbert, R. Gettings, B. MacDonald, Definitions of Terms and Modes Used at NIST for Value-Assignment of Reference Materials for Chemical Measurements, Natl. Inst. Stand. Technol. Spec. Publ. 260-136, 2000.

Bernhard Michalke,  Quality control and reference materials in speciation analysis, Fresenius J. Anal. Chem., 363 (1999) 439–445. DOI: 10.1007/s002160051219

J.S. Kane, P.J. Potts, ISO guides for reference material certification and use: Application to geochemical reference materials, Geostandards Newsletter, 21 (1997) 51-58. DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-908X.1997.tb00531.x

S. Landsberger, The Use of Certified Reference Materials in Environmental and Ecological Elemental Analysis, Chem. Ecol., 2/1 (1984) 3-9. DOI: 10.1080/02757548408070816

J. Paul Cali, The Role of Reference Materials in the Analytical Laboratory, Fres. Z. Anal. Chem.,  297 (1979) 1-3. DOI: 10.1007/BF00487739

On-line catalogues for standards, reference materials and CRMs

Absolute Standards, Inc.
AMIS - African Mineral Standards
ARMI - Analytical Reference Materials International
ASO Design Canada
BAM - Federal Institute for Materials Research
BAS - Bureau of Analysed Samples
Brammer Standard
CCRMP - Natural Resources Canada's Canadian Certified Reference Materials Project 
Cerilliant Analytical Reference Standards
CGL- Central Geological Laboratory of Mongolia
CONOSTAN - Oil Analysis Standards
CRPG - Centre de Recherches Pétrographiques et Géochimiques
Dillinger Hütte (Alloys,  Oxides, Iron & Steels)
Dr. Ehrenstorfer GmbH
ERM- European Reference Materials
Exasol Corp. - Inorganic Standards and Reference Materials for use in ICP, ICP-MS, AA, GFAA and IC
Global Proficiency Reference Materials
HPS - High Purity Standards
IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency
IAG - International Association of Geoanalysts - Reference materials for geochemical analysis including Microanalytical Reference Materials
ielab (Spain)
INCT/ICHTJ: Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology
IPT -  Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnologicas (Brazil)
iv - Inorganic Ventures
IVIC - Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas
JRC - Joint Research Center
LBMA - London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) : Gold and Silver Certified Reference Materials
LGC Standards
LNE - Laboratoire national de métrologie et d'essais
MBH - Reference Materials for spectrochemical analysis
NBL - CRMs for use in nuclear and nuclear-related analytical measurement activities
NIES - National Institute for Environmental Studies (Japan)
NIST - National Institute of Standards and Technology
NMI (Australia)
NMIJ - National Metrology Institute of Japan
NML India - National Metallurgical Laboratory
NRC Institute for National Measurement Standards
NSI Solutions
o2si smart solutions (Organic Standard Solutions International, LLC)
OREAS - Ore Research & Exploration Pty Ltd Assay Standards Certified Reference Materials for Mining & Exploration
Paragon Scientific (standards for petroleum and derivative products testing)
READE - Minerals  and Ores
ReCCS - Reference Material Institute for Clinical Chemistry Standards
RESTEK - Chromatography Products and Solutions
ROMIL (Single- and Multi-component reference solutions)
SABS - South African Bureau of Standards
SCP Science (EnviroMAT, AgroMAT Certified Reference Materials)
Society of Glass Technology
SPEX Certiprep
Ultra Scientific - Single and multielement calibration standards
USGS - United States Geological Survey
USP - U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention
VHG Labs
WEPAL: Wageningen Evaluating Programs for Analytical Laboratories
WHO - Reference materials (International Reference Preparations) of blood products and related biologicals

Database search for CRMs

The COMAR International database for certified reference materials lists thousands (~ 10200) of certified reference materials (CRMs) produced world-wide by about 220 producers in 25 countries.

EVISA's Material Database lists materials used for trace element and speciation analysis (including CRMs, RMs, isotopic materials, calibration standards etc.)

Database for metallic reference materials provided by FLUXANA

GeoReM is a Max Planck Institute database for reference materials of geological and environmental interest, such as rock powders, synthetic and natural glasses as well as mineral, isotopic, biological, river water and seawater reference materials.

The Joint Committee for Traceability in Laboratory Medicine (JCTLM) offers a database for higher-order reference materials for laboratory medicine and in vitro diagnostics.

The Reference materials total information service of Japan (RMinfo) is maintained by NITE and offers a database for Japanese reference materials and links to COMAR and NIST.

EVISA News related to CRMs

March 25, 2018: New CRM for trace metals in chocolate released (ERM-BD512)
January 16, 2017: Use of certified reference materials (CRMs) for speciation analysis
January 5, 2017: ERM-AE671: A new Certified Reference Material to make methylmercury measurements in food more reliable
February 15, 2013: JRC-IRMM has released ERM-BC211 certified rice reference material
May 3, 2011: New reference materials for the characterisation of selenium-enriched food products
March 20, 2011: Stability of Reference Materials for Speciation Analysis
November 23, 2010: New certified reference material supporting mercury speciation analysis of blood
September 28, 2009: New Beryllium Reference Material for Occupational Safety Monitoring
September 10, 2009: Speciation Analysis - Striving for Quality
February 3, 2009: New Reference Material for Hexavalent Chromium in Contaminated Soil
November 15, 2005: NIST/EPA/NJ DEP embark on the preparation of a soil reference materials for chromium speciation
August 2, 2005: New CRM for Selenomethionine in yeast developed by NRC Canada is now on the market
May 6, 2004: Reference materials producers launch new European initiative

last time modified: October 16, 2020


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