As the science and knowledge service of the European Commission, the Joint Research Centre's mission is to support EU policies with independent evidence throughout the whole policy cycle.
The need to refer to an independent laboratory on questions of air pollution monitoring led to the creation of the European Reference Laboratory for Air Pollution (ERLAP) of the JRC in 1994. ERLAP contributes to the correct development and implementation of Air Quality Directives in Europe.
The highly specialised laboratory works on the harmonisation and standardisation of measurement techniques, carries out measurement campaigns in areas of particular interest, analyses the chemical composition of toxic and carcinogenic compounds in air pollution and develops reference and equivalent measurement methods to provide support to the implementation and development of European Commission’s air quality policy.
ERLAP is the body responsible for organising EU quality assurance programmes with the participation of the Member States' National Air Quality Reference Laboratories. They regularly measure test gas mixtures during inter-comparison exercises at the JRC facility. These quality assurance programmes are carried out in collaboration with the AQUILA Network  and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Air Quality Management and Air Pollution Control.