Wed, Oct 31, 2012 - Page 3 News List

More precise dioxin test developed

BREAKTHROUGH:An EPA lab chief said that with the locally developed reference materials, dioxin testing would not only be more effective, but also cost-saving

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday announced a breakthrough in developing a method for achieving higher precision levels in dioxin testing.

It is the “poison of the century,” the EPA’s Environmental Analysis Laboratory said, using a metaphor widely used in the nation to refer to dioxin, whose toxicity is such that a very small amount can have a damaging effect on the human body.

Laboratory director-general Roam Guo-dong (阮國棟) said that using data accumulated from dioxin testing of fly ashes, bottom ashes and other industrial wastes from the past decade, the laboratory has developed a new solid reference material to support dioxin testing and achieved a precision level higher than in many other countries.

“The reference material is the standard used to check the quality of products like correct answers to a test,” Roam said.

He added that with the new reference material, the laboratory can evaluate whether the testing methods for dioxins used in other laboratories in the business sector or research institutes are able to produce correct test results.

Roam said that reference materials for testing dioxins were often purchased from other countries and might not be compatible for testing substances containing dioxin in Taiwan.

The locally developed reference material can deliver more precise results in testing for substances collected in Taiwan, he added.

It can also save about NT$7 million (US$240,000) for the EPA, he said.

The laboratory has instructed 10 toxicity testing laboratories — a government agency, three national universities and six environment examination bodies — on using the reference material and is planning to introduce the reference material to the world community.

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