POPs Testing

If not handled responsibly, Persistant Organic Pollutants (POPs) can quickly enter the food chain. This can lead to significant health risks for anyone consuming POPs-contaminated food or water.

ACS provides a complete and thorough service for POPs testing. Operating from our UKAS-accredited laboratory, our capabilities extend to almost any sample matrix.

Using state-of-the-art GCMS QQQ and LCMS QQQ - we offer high-quality mass spectrometry analysis for the full range of pollutants as per the Stockholm Convention.

We can analyse a variety of sample types, including:

  • Waters
  • Soils
  • Aggregates
  • Ash
  • Air Pollution Control residues (APCr)
  • Industrial liquids
  • Powders
  • Films
  • E-Waste
  • Resins and Plastics

Depending on the sample matrix, we can achieve very low levels of detection with very small amounts of sample.

What are Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)?

Persistant Organic Pollutants are toxic compounds that typically originate from industrial sources. They can remain in the environment for long periods, spread by air and water currents. The effects of POPs on people and wildlife can be severe - from cancer and reproductive problems to the disruption of normal development processes.

To help avoid this, a proactive approach must be taken to reduce pollution levels through responsible waste management practices. Specifically, hazardous materials should be properly disposed of and environmental laws should be strictly enforced. POPs testing is an important part of identifying potential sources of contamination and risk.

The 12 Initial POPs under the Stockholm Convention

Initially, there were twelve recognised POPs. These are known to cause adverse effects on humans the ecosystem and are categorised as:

  • Pesticides
  • Industrial Chemicals
  • By-Products

Since June 2017, an additional sixteen POPs were added to the Stockholm Convention. You can view the complete list with a detailed risk profile on the Stockholm Convention New POPs page.

Analysis of Pesticide Residues

In POPs testing, the analysis of pesticide residues is undertaken using various complex methods. These are designed to detect POPs in food or water supplies and whether pesticides have been transferred from plants to animals. Identifying present concentration levels can help to determine the long-term environmental effects caused by these different chemicals.

Our experienced team carries out POPs testing methods using sophisticated equipment. This often includes high-resolution chromatography and mass spectrometry. These both measure increasingly small concentrations of toxic chemicals that may be present in the sample.

By identifying the potential sources of contamination, we can accurately assess the risks associated with exposure. This is important for informing appropriate measures for reducing any future adverse effects.

Results from the analysis may also be used to improve the production and management of pesticides, as well as inform policies for protecting human and environmental health.

Persistent Organic Pollutants Regulations

The UK’s Persistent Organic Pollutants Regulations 2007 aims to protect people and the environment from the damaging impacts of POPs. By complying with these regulations, businesses can reduce the risk associated with using and disposing of POP-contaminated chemicals.

The regulations set out specific requirements for the handling, storing, and transporting of products and substances containing Persistent Organic Pollutants, as well as identifying their hazardous properties. To ensure compliance, it is essential that organisations are aware of their legal obligations when dealing with these types of substances and products.

Persistent Organic Pollutants regulations in the UK aim to:
  • Protect people and the environment from the damaging impacts of POPs
  • Set out specific requirements for handling, storing and transporting POPs-containing substances and products
  • Monitor regularly for any possible risks or spillages
  • Reduce costs associated with clean-up operations

By adhering to these regulations, your business will remain compliant, help preserve the environment, and protect public health.

See the Government guidance on POPs for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Stockholm Convention?

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is a global treaty set out to protect human health and the environment from the use or disposal of certain toxic chemicals. The convention requires that participating countries adopt and introduce specific standards to reduce releases of POPs into the environment and minimise human and wildlife exposure.

How many POPs are listed in the Stockholm Convention?

There are currently 28 POPs listed in the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. They fall into 3 overarching categories: Industrial chemicals, pesticides, and certain homologue groups of poly-brominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and unintentional by-products of combustion, industrial processes, and non-industrial processes.

What effects do POPs have on humans?

Evidence shows that long-term exposure to POPs can lead to reproductive disorders, increased cancer risk, changes to the immune system, disruption of normal development processes, and more. Anyone who consumes POPs-contaminated food or water is at significant risk of harm, making POPs testing vital to the well-being of people and wildlife.

How do you test for POPs?

There are several methods for POPs testing, and popular procedures include GC-MS, LC-MS, and ELISA. The choice of method will depend on the substance being tested for, the sample conditions, and the required level of sensitivity and specificity.

ACS Services

Please see below for a list of the services provided by ACS:

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Geo-Environmental Consultancy

The ACS Geo-Environmental Consultancy Department has been operating as part of ACS for over 10 years.

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On-Site Testing Services

ACS offers a comprehensive range of professional on-site testing, all carried out by our fully trained site technicians.

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Aggregates and Soils Testing

From our main laboratory in Poole, Dorset, ACS provide quality testing and material consultancy for the construction and civil engineering industry.

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Bituminous Testing

ACS carries out testing on new bituminous binder material and testing on hardened material for physical and chemical properties. Circa pre 1980’s Tar (Carcinogenic effects) was also used as a binder, ACS staff can sample and test materials to assess if Tar was used.

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Concrete Testing

Concrete was the first service to be offered by ACS back in 1987. Since then, we have increased our scope to cover a wide range of UKAS Accredited testing methods on fresh and hardened concrete.

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Mortar and Screed Testing

ACS can sample and test new and hardened mortar. Hardened mortar for mix proportions and constituents, new mortar for compressive and flexural strength.

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Contamination and WAC Testing

At ACS we offer an efficient and reliable chemical analysis service for waste soils and construction materials using various test solids and leaching procedures specified by the Environment Agency.

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Chemical Testing

The ACS chemical laboratory was established in 2007. It complements the physical materials testing service provided by ACS by offering a range of chemical analytical services.

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Leachate and Water Analysis

Our purpose-built analytical laboratory enables ACS to provide a comprehensive sampling, monitoring and analysis service on a wide range of leachate and water samples.

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Natural Stone Testing

Our newly refurbished stone testing laboratory has given us the opportunity to expand our testing scope. In addition, we have increased production and improved on our turnaround of samples.

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Site Laboratory Services

Over the last 35 years, ACS have supplied custom fitted site laboratories with technicians to many construction sites and projects worldwide.

Persistent Organic Pollutants

Our experienced lab technicians can provide detailed and accurate analysis of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in almost any sample matrix in line with the Stockholm Convention.

Energy From Waste

Experts in Energy from Waste residues, ACS offers a full range of services, including gasification, pyrolysis, syngas and tar sampling, and analysis and interpretation of analytical results for IBA and APCr.

RoHS Compliance Testing

At ACS, we undertake rigorous RoHS compliance testing to identify and quantify any contaminants in your shredded waste, ensuring your product meets strict RoHS requirements.

Energy Supply, Generation & Regulation

Our highly skilled team provide industry-leading waste fuel testing services for RDF, SRF, MSW, and Solid Biomass, helping you save costs and meet compliance standards for total peace of mind.

To learn more about our Persistent Organic Pollutants services, please contact us and tell us about your specific needs.