The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced its approval of SGS AXYS Method 16130 as a method and alternate test procedure for the detection of dioxins. It now becomes one of the testing solutions aimed at reducing human exposure to dioxins found in air, agricultural land, and water.

Developed over two years at the SGS AXYS Lab facility in Sidney, in collaboration with the EPA and equipment manufacturers, Waters Corporation, and Agilent Technologies, SGS AXYS Method 16130 is an important piece of the puzzle in the modernization and diversification of testing for dioxins. The current EPA 1613B dioxin testing method has long been considered the gold standard, but the magnetic sector instruments that it uses are an ageing platform with decreasing vendor and instrument availability, making a new test vital.

Dioxins are toxic compounds categorized as persistent organic pollutants (POP) that can remain in the environment long after their initial contamination. They can arise from natural events like forest fires and volcanic eruptions or as a by-product of human or industrial activities, including waste incineration, decolorization of paper pulp and the manufacture of pesticides and herbicides. More than 90% of the time, the risks to humans come from dioxins making their way into the food chain. This means protection from secondary contamination is essential.

The high toxicity of dioxin can result in cancer, reproductive and developmental problems and damage to the immune system. Dioxin can also interfere with hormones. Agent Orange in Vietnam, the Seveso disaster in Italy and Love Canal in the US are stark reminders of the potential damage from dioxins as well as the need for ongoing access to accurate testing in North America and around the world.

This new method for testing takes advantage of the latest technology using GC-MS/MS (Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry/Mass Spectrometry). The EPA has found it not only matches the existing performance of EPA Method 1613B but has the potential to lower laboratory costs and expand the pool of available laboratories available for testing.

In comparison with high Resolution Mass Spectrometry (HRMS), the GC-MS/MS results for all 36 samples used and analyzed from four matrices (wastewater, biosolids, sediment and tissue) showed excellent promise. Based on the application and the performance of SGS AXYS Method 16130, the EPA recommends that this method be included in future regulatory actions and says it will be added to the list of approved methods.

While SGS is known as the global leader in independent testing and certification, the work that we do usually takes place in the background and away from the spotlight. "We're thrilled the EPA has recognized SGS AXYS Method 16130 as an approved method to test for dioxins. Collaborating with other industry leaders on such an important initiative, that will now be used across North America and potentially around the globe to identify hazardous dioxins, is a source of pride for SGS" said said Peter Possemiers, Executive Vice President, Environment, Health and Safety. 

About SGS AXYS Laboratory

SGS AXYS specializes in the measurement of known or suspected Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) in environmental, biota and product samples. We offer state-of-the-art mass spectrometric analysis for more than a thousand compounds of interest. Our isotope dilution techniques and quality programs ensure data of industry-leading quality, detection limits and defensibility.

For further information, please contact:

Fulvio Martinez
Head of Regional Communications, SGS North America
m: +1 281-714-6765

About SGS

SGS is the world's leading inspection, verification, testing, and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 89,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,600 offices and laboratories in 148 countries around the world.