INAA, ICP-AES and ICP-MS were used to elementally characterise four environmental reference materials – NIST SRM 1646a (Estuarine Sediment), NIST SRM 1400 (Bone Ash), IAEA-395 (Urban Dust) and IAEA-450 (Algae). An analytical scheme consisting of the three methods was first applied to NIST SRM 1646a to validate the methodology because it has been extensively analysed and has certified values for many elements. With repeated analyses of NIST SRM 1646a, the accuracy and measurement repeatability of the data obtained were evaluated based on two statistical calculations (zeta-score and Horwitz ratio) and were observed to be good enough for the analytical scheme to be applied to similar sorts of environmental/geochemical samples. Applying the same approach to NIST SRM 1400, IAEA-395 and IAEA-450, enabled mass fractions of 29, 38 and 28 elements to be determined, respectively. Among these results, the data for rare earth elements are of particular interest, not only for IAEA-450 but also for the other three reference samples. The data for Pr, Gd, Dy, Ho, Er and Tm in NIST SRM 1646a are newly reported in this study. By using small test portions (< 100 mg) for NIST SRM 1646a and IAEA-395, and recommended minimum amounts for NIST SRM 1400 and IAEA-450, sample homogeneity was evaluated.
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