Interlaboratory Proficiency Tests carried out in 2014

precision_accuracy   Last year, a total of 40 laboratories from 14 different countries participated in an interlaboratory test to check proficiency according to European standard EN 13725/2003 organized by the company Odournet.Test criteria used in this comparison to assess the results were the precision under repeatability conditions r and accuracy A for 1-butanol of the laboratory according to EN 13725. There were 38 participants from Europe and 2 from Chile.

   A number of 34 laboratories in this study stated that they have been accredited for EN 13725 olfactometry measurements according to EN ISO/IEC 17025. The following table shows the list of participants.


Countrynumber of participants
Belgium 4
Chile 2
Denmark 2
Estonia 1
France 2
Germany 12
Italy 2
Lithuania 2
Netherlands 2
Norway 1
Poland 1
Portugal 1
Spain 2
United Kingdom 6


   The participation in Proficiency Testing (PT) for laboratories accredited to ISO17025 is not facultative.

   However, reviewing the documents about proficiency testing EA-4/18 INF: 2010 and the ILAC-P9 published by the The European Accreditation Co-operation there is not statement about how often a lab must carry out a proficiency testing.

   That is, any lab can choose the frequency of their PT either yearly or every 10 years as long as it is justified in their "PT strategy".

   So anyway, there are not many laboratories that showed some concern this year about their precision and accuracy. The laboratories of just 14 countries out of 33 CEN members had some interest in participating in a PT this year. The CEN countries with no lab participating in the PT were Turkey, Romania, Greece, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Finland, Slovakia, Ireland, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia, Latvia, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta and Iceland. Here there is a there is a graph of these countries ordered by population according to the Eurostats figures for 2014. graph1

  In total there is a population of around 180 million people in Europe that does not have a lab that run a PT in 2014. Of course, doing a PT on an annually basis is not compulsory, plus its cost might be a bit high for some labs, but it is a necessary tool to be used in order to check the quality of the work of a lab.

  Here there is another graph that shows just how many people is served by each olfactometer that run a PT in 2014.

million inhabitants olfactometer

   In this graph the best served countries according to this peculiar classification are on the right hand side and the not so well on the left hand side. Coutries like Estonia, Lithuania, Belgium and Denmark have a very high coefficient of olfactometers running a PT in 2014 per million inhabitants. On the other side, Poland, France, Italy and Spain are not doing so good. 

  Poland is a bit of an exception as three accredited laboratories organized an interlaboratory PT test by themselves according to the European Norm. In this case the ratio would go down to 9,5 million inhabitants per lab that run a PT testing in 2014 in Poland. Provided that the PT was adequately performed, of course.

  That leaves France, Italy and Spain as the European countries that need some pushing on this Interlaboratory PT 2014 matter. It would be interesting to see how many labs are accredited for EN 13725 olfactometry measurements according to EN ISO/IEC 17025 in these countries.

  There are other countries that have a sister norm of the European Norm, such as AS/NZS 4323.3:2001 for Australia and New Zealand, the NCh3190 in Chile and the NTC 5880 in Colombia and many other countries with standards on olfactometry such as USA with the ASTM E679-04: 2011 or Japan. There was representation of these countries in previous editions, however, this year just two labs of Chile carried out a PT. Not a very successful call for PTs out of Europe here I would say.

   Last but not least, there is a need to check also proficiency on sampling odours.

   Taking an odour sample is a very important step to take into account in the estimation of the overall uncertainty of a lab, and the Hessian Agency for the Environment and Geology (HLUG) is organizing a regular test with over 15 labs for the very first time. This ILC will consider not only analysis, but also stack sampling. But this is another article...

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Carlos Nietzsche Diaz Jimenez's Avatar

Carlos Nietzsche Diaz Jimenez

Carlos is the editor-chief of and has been in the odour world since 2001. Since then, Carlos has attended over 90 conferences in odour management, both national and international and authored a few papers on the subject. He has also organized a few international meetings and courses. Carlos owns a small company named Ambiente et Odora (AEO). He spends his free time with his wife and his twins, Laura and Daniel, and of course, writing on

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