Microplastics testing

Measurlabs offers microplastic analyses for a variety of matrices from water, soil, and sludge to food and consumer goods. Common reasons for testing include environmental research and optimization of product development to minimize the release of microplastics into the product or the environment.
Analysis of microplastics
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Testing options for water

Different types of water are the most common sample matrix in microplastics testing. Plastic particles can be screened from natural waters to identify polluted river, lake, or sea areas. Analysis may also focus on bottled water to optimize the production process and packaging so that as few particles as possible end up in the product. 

Microplastic analysis of wastewater is typically focused on optimizing filtration systems to minimize the release of plastics into the environment. Testable systems can range from small filters intended for washing machines to filters used on large ships.

Other matrices

In addition to water, microplastics can be screened from other environmental samples, such as soil, sediment, and sludge. The tests can be performed according to ISO 24187, which is the first international standard for microplastic analysis. Testing options for food products, pharmaceuticals, biological samples, and other specialty matrices are also available upon request.

Microplastics regulations, such as the recent addition of polymeric particles to the REACH Regulation, have introduced new testing requirements for a range of consumer products and materials. Do not hesitate to ask our experts for more information and a quote for compliance testing.

Analysis methods in microplastics testing

Microplastics can be analyzed using several methods, the most common of which are Raman, FTIR, and py-GC/MS. Raman and FTIR can identify and quantify microplastic particles by size range and plastic type. Identification is based on reference libraries, so even rarer plastics can be detected. Very small particles (< 1 µm) are generally not detected, however, which makes these methods unsuitable for nanoplastic analysis.

Pyrolysis-GC/MS, on the other hand, can detect nanoplastics but does not provide information on particle size distribution. Instead, the overall quantity of microplastics within a set size range is reported as a mass fraction (in µg/l). If detailed information about the shape and size of plastic particles is needed, SEM imaging can also be used.

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