Standard Active Last Updated: Oct 09, 2023 Track Document
ASTM D7440-23

Standard Practice for Characterizing Uncertainty in Air Quality Measurements

Standard Practice for Characterizing Uncertainty in Air Quality Measurements D7440-23 ASTM|D7440-23|en-US Standard Practice for Characterizing Uncertainty in Air Quality Measurements Standard new BOS Vol. 11.07 Committee D22
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Significance and Use

6.1 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 Guide D3670. Inclusion of such a statement with a method description simplifies comparison of ASTM Test Methods to analogous ISO and Committee for European Normalization (CEN) standards, now required to have uncertainty statements.

6.2 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 (7). Documented uncertainty can form a basis for specific criteria defining acceptable sampling/analytical method performance.

6.3 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.

6.4 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 other published methods. The codification of statistical procedures may in fact minimize the difficulty in interpreting a plethora of individual, albeit possibly valid, approaches.


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 International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement (ISO GUM, (1)2) 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 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

1.3 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, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

1.4 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.

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Book of Standards Volume: 11.07
Developed by Subcommittee: D22.01
Pages: 14
DOI: 10.1520/D7440-23
ICS Code: 13.040.20