Sr isotopic compositions and Rb/Sr ratios of three USGS glasses (BHVO-2G, BIR-1G, BCR-2G) are identical to those of the original USGS reference materials. NKT-1G and TB-1G give values of 0.70351 and 0.70558, respectively. Pb isotopic ratios were measured by the standard-sample bracketing technique on an MC-ICP-MS, which give results that are comparable in accuracy and reproducibility to double spike analyses. However, assessment of the reproducibility of the technique is hampered by inhomogeneous contamination of all USGS reference materials analysed. This contamination is likely to be the reason why the USGS glasses do not all have the same Pb isotopic composition as their unfused originals. Powdered glasses, distributed for characterisation of the glasses by bulk analytical techniques, do not all have the same Pb isotopic compositions as the solid glass material, and can therefore not be used for this purpose. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.