ASTM D7440 - 08

    Standard Practice for Characterizing Uncertainty in Air Quality Measurements

    Active Standard ASTM D7440 | Developed by Subcommittee: D22.01

    Book of Standards Volume: 11.07


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    Significance and Use

    A primary use intended for this practice is for qualifying ASTM International Standards as Standard Test Methods. In the past, a Precision and Bias report has been required. However, recently a statement of uncertainty has become an acceptable alternative to D 3670 91: Guide for Determination of Precision and Bias of Methods of Committee D-22. Inclusion of such a statement with a method description simplifies comparison of ASTM Test Methods to analogous ISO and CEN standards, now required to have uncertainty statements.

    Standardizing the characterization of sampling/analytical method performance is expected to be useful in other applications as well. For example, performance details are a necessity for justifying compliance decisions based on experimental air quality assessments (6). Documented uncertainty can form a basis for specific criteria defining acceptable sampling/analytical method performance.

    Furthermore, high quality atmospheric measurements are vital for making decisions as to how hazardous substances are to be controlled. Valid data are required for drawing reasonable epidemiological conclusions, for making sound decisions as to acceptable limits, as well as for determining the efficacy of a hazard control system.

    Finally, because of developing world-wide acceptance of ISO GUM for detailing measurements when statistics are simple, the practice should be useful in comparing ASTM International Test Methods to others published methods. The codification of statistical procedures may in fact minimize the difficulty in interpreting a plethora of individual, albeit possibly valid, approaches.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice is for assisting developers and users of air quality methods for sampling concentrations of both airborne and settled materials in characterizing measurements as to uncertainty. Where possible, analysis into uncertainty components as recommended in the ISO Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement (1, ISO GUM) is suggested. Aspects of uncertainty estimation particular to air quality measurement are emphasized. For example, air quality assessment is often complicated by: the difficulty of taking replicate measurements owing to the large spatio-temporal variation in concentration values to be measured; systematic error or bias, both corrected and uncorrected; and the (rare) non-normal distribution of errors. This practice operates mainly through example. Background and mathematical development are relegated to appendices for optional reading.

    1.2 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D1356 Terminology Relating to Sampling and Analysis of Atmospheres

    D3670 Guide for Determination of Precision and Bias of Methods of Committee D22

    D6061 Practice for Evaluating the Performance of Respirable Aerosol Samplers

    D6246 Practice for Evaluating the Performance of Diffusive Samplers

    D6552 Practice for Controlling and Characterizing Errors in Weighing Collected Aerosols

    E691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method

    Other International Standards

    EN482 Workplace Atmospheres--General Requirements for the Performance of Procedures for the Measurement of Chemical Agents


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.040.20 (Ambient atmospheres)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 77121501(Air quality management)


    DOI: 10.1520/D7440-08

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