Internationally harmonized approach to biomonitoring trace element atmospheric deposition

Environ Pollut. 2002;120(1):3-10. doi: 10.1016/s0269-7491(02)00123-9.


The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been systematically supporting work on biomonitoring air pollution using plants since 1997. Such studies are presently being supported by the IAEA in 14 countries within a co-ordinated research project. The main emphasis of this project is on (1) identification of suitable biomonitors of atmospheric pollution for local and/or regional application, and (2) their validation for general environmental monitoring, whenever possible. Although the participants are using different plants as biomonitors in their research in geographically and climatically diverse parts of the world, they are harmonising sampling approaches and analytical procedures. In this paper, an overview of these activities is given, along with the details, where possible. In all of these activities, proficiency testing and analytical quality assurance are important issues, which merit special attention. Within the scope of an intercomparison exercise, two lichen materials were distributed among the participating laboratories and a proficiency test was organised. The results obtained proved satisfactory performance for most participating laboratories.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Calibration
  • Climate
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Environmental Monitoring / standards*
  • Environmental Monitoring / statistics & numerical data
  • Geography
  • International Cooperation
  • Quality Control
  • Trace Elements / analysis*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Trace Elements