Sign In

Matrices of solid environmental samples are harmonized in the scopes

In cooperation with a group of experts, FINAS has unified the matrices of solid environmental samples in the accredited scopes. In this information letter we tell about the background and justification for the unification work. In addition, information will be given about future procedures in laboratories whose scope includes various solid environmental samples as tested matrices.


FINAS has accredited around 30 laboratories that carry out chemical and microbiological testing of solid environmental samples. When the scope has an environmental sample as the material to be tested, it is a flexible scope. If the scope is not flexible, the environmental sample matrix is specified more precisely (e.g. soil sample, concrete, ash, etc.). The development work has been affected by observations received in FINAS's EA peer evaluations regarding the fixed and flexible scope. In FINAS, the water, feed and food matrices have already been unified and divided into more descriptive groups.

The description of solid sample matrices for environmental testing in the scopes varies widely. For example, the environmental sample is a matrix in both fixed and flexible scopes. In the fixed scope, this matrix contains hidden flexibility, to reduce which FINAS has started the development of scopes, i.e. the harmonization of sample matrices. The purpose of this harmonization is to make it more visible to the scopes which solid sample matrices are part of the laboratory's services in environmental testing.

The unification of the matrices has been done in cooperation with FINAS and a working group made up of authorities and laboratory representatives. FINAS and the working group jointly prepared a list of solid environmental sample matrices to help unify the solid sample matrices of environmental testing in the scopes.

Follow-up measures and progress of the case

FINAS measures

  • Changes to the scopes will start in January 2024 and will be assessed in connection with the assessments.
  • FINAS requests information about the solid environmental sample matrices of the scope in connection with the material to be submitted in advance according to the list of the harmonized matrices (pdf).

Laboratories are expected

  • The laboratory analyzes which solid environmental sample matrices it has competence for and what the competence is based on.
  • Old validation data is not requested from the laboratory and additional validations are not required.
  • In the scope, the material to be tested can also be described more narrowly (e.g. sand vs. soil sample).
  • The laboratory prepares a proposal for a detailed scope. Download the form (docx).
    • Note: If you have problems opening the file, please download the file to your computer by pressing the right mouse button on top of the link and choosing 'save as'.​

The change is technical, in which the laboratories' solid environmental testing sample matrices are unified according to the laboratory's competence and experience. The scope is modified based on the information obtained in the decision stage and the result of the assessment in cooperation with the laboratory.

For more information please contact 
Lead Assessor Riitta Saares, riitta.saares(at)