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European Commission | Analytical methods to measure microplastics in drinking water

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ABSTRACT - Article 13(6) of EU Directive 2020/2184 on the quality of water intended for human consumption (recast) states that within 3 years of its entry into force on 12th January 2021 the European Commission shall adopt a methodology to measure microplastics in drinking water. To support the development and adoption of such a methodology, the Joint Research Centre has undertaken a review of the scientific knowledge base regarding the nature, distribution and quantities of microplastics in drinking water. From the literature and supported by in-house experience, potential instrumental techniques were identified and documented to summarise their technical capabilities, limitations and where possible also information on sample throughput as well as running and investment costs. Consideration was given to the relevant activities and progress of standardization bodies relating to microplastic analysis methods. Finally, with a view to defining the scope of a monitoring methodology, including appropriate reporting criteria, the possible descriptors for microplastics have been considered – in particular particle size, particle shape and polymers of interest – as well as suitable measurement metrics (mass/number). This information, which is summarised in this report, forms the basis for making informed and pragmatic recommendations about the key parameters to be measured and the most appropriate analytical techniques to use in the development of a methodology.



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