Mercury poses one of the greatest current direct threats to human, animal and environmental health across the globe. Robust, defensible and traceable measurements of mercury concentrations are essential to a) underpin global efforts to control and reduce the concentration of mercury in the environment, b) meet the obligations of legislation and c) protect human health. As such, mercury emissions are regulated by the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) 2010/75/EU, the Air Quality Directive (AQD) 2004/107/EC, the Waste Incineration Directive (WID) 2000/76/EC and the Minamata Convention. Currently, it is not possible to defensibly establish regulatory specifications for mercury concentration levels in European directives, because of a lack of traceable measurement data obtained with validated methodologies for the different mercury species.
Although great efforts have been made in developing primary mercury standards and SI-traceable calibration methods for different mercury species, there are no standardised procedures that ensures the dissemination and uptake of the developed metrological traceability by calibration and testing laboratories and in the field. Scientifically sound certification protocols, to determine the output of elemental mercury (Hg0) and oxidised mercury (HgII) gas generators in the form of formally accepted documentary standards, are of fundamental importance to guarantee the accuracy and comparability of the mercury measurement data in Europe and globally. Furthermore, mercury gas generators certified using SI-traceable standards will provide the traceability and uncertainty needed by calibration and testing laboratories under ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation to demonstrate their conformity in assessments.
European and international standardisation bodies have recognised the importance of standardising methods for measuring mercury in air. This project will meet this need by feeding the output of this research into existing and new documentary standards under development by standards development organisation technical committee CEN/TC264 “Air Quality” WG8 “Mercury Emissions”.