Establishment of Dioxin/POPs Testing Laboratory at PCSIR Karachi

Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Zahid Hamid inaugurating the Dioxin/POPs Testing Laboratory at PCSIR Karachi
Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Zahid Hamid (centre), Federal Secretary for Science and Technology, Mr. Kamran Ali Qureshi (3rd left); Mr. Masroor Ahmed Qureshi (1st left); Joint Technological Adviser MoST; Mr. Bruno Valanzuolo (2nd left); Chief Technical Advisor TRTA II Programme Mr. Riccardo Rossi (2nd right) Development Advisor at the EU Delegation to Pakistan; Chairman PCSIR Dr. Shoukat Parvez (3rd right); and Engr. Sayed Naimat Ali Rizvi (1st right), Director General, PCSIR
Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Zahid Hamid (centre), Federal Secretary for Science and Technology, Mr. Kamran Ali Qureshi (3rd left); Mr. Masroor Ahmed Qureshi (1st left); Joint Technological Adviser MoST; Mr. Bruno Valanzuolo (2nd left); Chief Technical Advisor TRTA II Programme Mr. Riccardo Rossi (2nd right) Development Advisor at the EU Delegation to Pakistan; Chairman PCSIR Dr. Shoukat Parvez (3rd right); and Engr. Sayed Naimat Ali Rizvi (1st right), Director General, PCSIR

Through its efforts with the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), PCSIR was able to sanction the necessary funds (Rs. 2.4 million) to help the KLC establish this state of the art Dioxin testing lab. With the technical support and trainings provided by UNIDO under the EU funded TRTA II program, the Dioxin laboratory at Pakistan Council for Science and Industrial research, Karachi Labs Complex (PCSIR-KLC) is now fully functional and receives upwards of 55 samples each month for testing of not only dioxins, but other POPs as well as heavy metals.

Presently Dioxin testing lab that along with other POPs has been initiated to some extent and PCSIR-KLC is being provided all technical support to MFD has provided the fish samples quarterly for chemical testing of dioxin, PCBs PAHs and heavy metals (Hg, Pb, Cd). A number of samples fish and guar gum have been tested for Dioxin and Dioxin like PCBs with the available technical facilities ,however, efforts are being continued for the acquisition of more high tech instruments like GC-HRMS, FMS to enhance the precision ,sensitivity and level of accuracy zero level detection for Dioxin testing as testing of all other Organic Pollutants is highly sensitive, requires significant instrumental precision and the more developed countries mandate adherence to strict scientific & quality standards and procedural norms.

Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Zahid Hamid inaugurating the Dioxin/POPs Testing Laboratory at PCSIR Karachi
Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Zahid Hamid inaugurating the Dioxin/POPs Testing Laboratory at PCSIR Karachi

Having witnessed the advent of this facility, and the enthusiasm and the motivation which has driven the team, no doubt that scientists have the potential to overcome all challenges. Going forward PCSIR Karachi will need to do a lot of work in the following respects:

  1. ISO accreditation for Dioxin testing (Accredited by PNAC on 21 September 2013)
  2. The acquisition of High-Resolution Mass Spectrometers and Gas Chromatographs to meet the ZERO DETECTION LEVEL of European countries.

Presently this lab is receiving samples for POPs (Pesticides, PAHs, Phthalates, Alkylphenoles PCBs, Heavy metals [Cd, Pb, As, Hg], Dioxane and Dioxin) – details provided in the table below.

PCSIR Karachi is now able to offer these unique testing services, housed within a single Laboratory Complex, to both the private sector (exporters / industries) as well as regulatory authorities in the public sector, all within a narrow time period and at reasonable cost. Otherwise, such collective services are only available in the EU member countries, where the cost of testing is hundred times greater and the turnaround time is more than 3 weeks.

Guests at the  inauguration ceremony of  Dioxin/POPs Testing Laboratory at PCSIR Karachi
Guests at the inauguration ceremony of Dioxin/POPs Testing Laboratory at PCSIR Karachi

These facilities at PCSIR will also help in reducing the rejection rate of the exported products, as those found to be non-compliant will automatically be stopped by the designated competent authorities from reaching their destinations overseas. Therefore, through the acquisition of advanced accredited testing facilities, PCSIR issued test results will certify will insure minimal rejection rates as well as reduce the quarantine time on foreign ports. At the same time, PCSIR Karachi will also be benefited by providing these testing faculties in terms of revenue generation thereby ensuring sustainability and growth in this sector.