Cornwall Air Quality Forum

The meeting was organised by the Automation and Analytical Management Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry in co-operation with the Health and Safety Executive, the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability (Ispra, Italy), NMI (Nederlands Meetinstitut) and the National Physical Laboratory (DTI VAM programme). There were around 140 attendees from industry, environment agencies and academia; and several European countries were represented in each of these categories.

L. E.(DG Environment, EC) presented the opening lecture in the first session: Development and Implementation of the New Ambient Air Directive: an EU Perspective. It focused chiefly on the European Directives (EDs) – their creation, function and future development – and, in particular, the 4th Daughter Directive (DD) on heavy metals and PAHs; the National Emission Ceilings Directive (which will require annual inventories of selected air pollutants) and CAFE (Clean Air for Europe) – an international trans-European study due to report in 2005 and aimed at improving air quality.

D. M. (EA, Hatfield) then spoke on The Role of CEN TC264 in Standardisation within the EU. He argued for the advantages of CEN (Comité Europeén de Normalisation: European Committee for Standardisation) standards over national, ISO and others and referred especially to the three completed CEN/TC264 documents: EN12341 (PM10 monitoring); TR-N422 (uncertainty) and EN 13528 (diffusive sampling).

P. B. (Landesumweltamt NRW, Essen, Germany) gave a clear (but unresolved) elucidation of the current status of PM10 measurement verification (i.e. gravimetric reference methods in relation to continuous systems such as the Teom and b-attenuation techniques); Problems with PM10 monitoring, Implementation of the PM Directive. He gave good detail concerning the issues around the problems related to the site-to-site variation in agreement between gravimetric and continuous methods and the dependence of this variation on sample flow-line temperature, humidity, ambient temperature and the nature of the particulate matter collected (especially ammonium nitrate).

The argument was for local correlation of real-time continuous monitoring with gravimetric methods via the use of experimentally identified site-specific and instrument-specific correlation expressions which are regularly re-validated. Otherwise a ‘fail-safe’ 1.3 factor was to be used to multiply continuous measurements and allow for mass loss due to volatilisation of material such as ammonium nitrate. Summertime measurements correlate better than wintertime measurements chiefly because the differences in operating temperature between gravimetric samplers (ambient temperature) and continuous samplers (heated, usually 50 °C) is less than in winter.

In the afternoon session, Martin Lutz (Directorate IX, Environmental Policy, Berlin) in a talk on Ozone and Photochemical Pollution emphasised the continuing problem of ozone in terms of its effects on health and vegetation. The southern Mediterranean area in particular may find ozone abatement difficult and, in this context, high spatial resolution (10 km) will be required to locate local ozone hotspots and to identify whether VOC or NOx abatement would be the most appropriate strategy for achieving reductions in ozone exposure. The importance of national reductions in ozone for the reduction of ozone in neighbouring states was discussed both for intra-European and cross-Atlantic transport – the latter can contribute up to 5 ppb to European ozone concentrations.

M. W. (AEA Technology) gave a paper entitled PAH, Occurrence, Epidemiology and Monitoring. Recent indications from the UK and the EU (4th DD) are that issues surrounding PAHs are receiving more attention. This raises problems relating to the monitoring and assessment of these compounds. Benz[a]pyrene is to be used as a marker compound for PAHs – though other marker species may be added in the future. Currently, typical measurement uncertainty is ±50% at the 95% confidence level and detection limits are in the region of 0.02 to 0.05 ng m-3 ; hence the measurement of PAHs (sampling, analysis and reporting) needs to be harmonised across the EU and CEN is working on a
‘ . . . robust and cost-effective BaP reference method’.

Hilde Uggerud (NILU, Norway) in a review of HeavyMetals, Occurrence and Monitoring described the EMEP (European Monitoring and Evaluation Programme), which co-ordinates data from European countries on heavy metals in air and precipitation. It was reported that the annual averages of lead and cadmium in precipitation show increasing eastbound (lead) and southbound (cadmium) gradients – the highest values were recorded at the Belgian and Czech stations. The paper also presented information on the use of a carpet-forming moss (Hylocomium splendens) to survey the atmospheric deposition of lead. Finn Palmgren (National Environmental Research Institute, Roskilde, Denmark) then spoke on Fine Particulates, the Sub-PM2.5 Debate.

The following day had presentations on equipment (Equipment for Thermal Desorption, Jan Kristensson, Chemik Lab, Sweden) and Measurement Options for Benzene and Acid Gases – the Role of Diffusive Sampling (Richard Brown , Health and safety Laboratory, Sheffield). The latter paper described how – in relation to the EU Ambient Air Quality Directive – Working Group 11 (TC264/WG11) is preparing performance requirement documents for diffusive samplers (prEN 13528-1 and 13528-2) and Working Group 13 (TC264/WG13) is preparing documentation referring to five measurement methods for benzene two of which (Reference method for the determination of benzene in air Parts 4 and 5) utilise diffusive samplers. WG11 is also ” . . . planning a minimum validation programme of diffusive samplers for nitrogen dioxide (and/or NOx), sulfur dioxide, ozone and ammonia.” which may result in further CEN guidance.

C. P. (Nottingham Trent University) argued for the development of techniques for radical detection (Chemical Ionisation Mass Spectrometry (CIMS)) and hydrocarbon detection and speciation (Quartz Crystal Microbalances (QCMS)) in his paper; Future Needs and Techniques for Ambient Air Monitoring.

B. B. (BP Amoco, Sunbury UK) described the extensive activities of BP in monitoring and mapping benzene (and other VOC) releases (Benzene, the Issues) chiefly around Grangemouth. He also discussed the extensive variation of benzene air quality standards between nations and (in the US) between states.

The final session of the meeting was devoted to a workshop on QA/QC for ambient air monitoring.

The conference had a wide European participation and in the presentations mixed strands of European policy-making, monitoring methodologies and data-reporting. To a certain extent this meant that the conference had a broad focus and that many of the presentations were of a review style rather than closely argued scientific papers. However, the attempts this regular conference is trying to make to link the progress of EU policies and guidance with practitioner activities is noteworthy.

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