Marine fuel to have lower sulfur levels by Nick Boley
November 27, 2012, 10:29
Filed under: Environment/Ecology, Fuels | Tags: ,

The European Commission has published Directive 2012/33/EU on 21 November 2012. This amends Council Directive 1999/32/EC and specifies the maximum content of sulfur in marine fuels.

The maximum level of sulfur in marine fuel has been 1% since July 2010 and this will reduce further to 0.1% from January 2015 for vessels from EU member states. The level of sulfur in marine fuels for non-EU vessels is also being reduced to 3.5% from January 2014 and 0.5% from January 2020.

These changes are being introduced to reduce the contribution to atmospheric pollution of oxides of sulfur (SOx) from the marine sector, which is one of the largest contributors to this. This will increase the costs of fuel to shipping and ferry companies, at least in the short-term, which is a cause of some concern.

Analytical methods for accurately determining the sulfur content of fuels at these levels of interest are available to assist enforcement.


MEPs demand more robust rules on fracking by Nick Boley
November 22, 2012, 15:11
Filed under: Energy, Environment/Ecology, EU Information | Tags: ,

MEPs have stated they see there is a need for more robust rules to deal with the many issues posed by the development across the EU on fracking.

A resolution from the Parliament’s Energy Commission stated  that each member state has the right to decide on whether to exploit shale gas. The resolution, prepared by Niki Tzavela (EFD, EL), was adopted with 492 votes in favour, 129 against and 13 abstentions.

However, MEPs considered that a “robust regulatory regime” is needed for all shale gas activities, including hydraulic fracturing. They believe that environmentally-friendly processes and best available techniques  be used to achieve the highest safety standards, and particularly to require companies to disclose which chemicals are used, in order to comply with EU legislation.

by Nick Boley
November 21, 2012, 15:17
Filed under: chemicals, EU Regulation/Legislation | Tags: , ,

The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly yesterday in favour of  new legislation to restrict open access to chemicals that can be used to make explosives. The proposal for this legislation was previously reported on this blog. The vote was welcomed by EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström.

This vote paves the way for a formal adoption by the Council in December so that the Directive can become law.

This legislation is designed to prevent or restrict access to specific chemicals which can be used in the production of terrorist materials such as home-made bombs.

New Guidance on CLP published by ECHA by Nick Boley
November 20, 2012, 11:29
Filed under: REACH/CLP | Tags: ,

ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency, have published new guidance on the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulations covering hazards.

This does cover, in part, characterisation measurements for substances including pH, physical state, form, solubility, vapour pressure and
particle size as these can affect the substance risk significantly. The reference to particle size is of particular interest when we consider nanoparticles and the need to characterise these accurately.

The guidance also covers mixtures, so it becomes important to be able to determine the constituents and proportions of those constituents in a mixture to be able to gauge the hazard/risk of the mixture appropriately.

Government Chemist Seminar 26 February 2013 by Nick Boley
November 16, 2012, 12:02
Filed under: Government Chemist Information | Tags:

There are now very few places remaining for the free Government Chemist seminar entitled REACH and CLP enforcement: measurement and related issues for Public Analysts and Enforcement Authorities, to be held on 26 February at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Manchester.

If you wish to attend please contact or reply to this blog post.

Chemical solutions to cable theft by Nick Boley
November 15, 2012, 16:11
Filed under: chemicals, Forensics | Tags: , ,

Specialist forensic material suppliers have been making significant advances to help in the fight against cable theft, according to a report in Chemistry World. Markers based on DNA, used in other forensic applications, are not applicable in this area as they degrade in sunlight, so other, novel approaches based upon microscopic dots and ceramic nanoparticles have been developed.

These advances cover the ability to mark copper cables, lead from church roofs and other metals which have been subject to increasing levels of theft with the rise in metals commodities prices in recent years.

The new Scrap Metal Dealer’s Bill is currently undergoing its passage through Parliament, with the expectation that it will be published early in 2013. These scientific advances should be able to play a significant part in both preventing metal theft and bringing metal thieves to justice.

List of Approved Rapid Tests for TSEs amended by European Commission by Nick Boley
November 14, 2012, 09:58
Filed under: EU Regulation/Legislation | Tags:

The European Commission has amended the list of permitted rapid tests which can be used in the European Union for the detection of transmissible spongiform encepalopathies (TSEs) such as BSE.

Commission Regulation (EU) No 1064/2012, published on 13 November, lists the tests now approved, and amends Annex X to Regulation (EC) No 999/2001.

The Regulation stresses that producers of rapid tests must have a quality assurance system in place that has been approved by the European Union Reference Laboratory and also to ensure that the test performance does not change. Producers must provide the European Union Reference Laboratory with the test protocols.

This Regulation comes at a time when there is a proposal from the EU to change the monitoring arrangements for the detection of BSE in cattle away from the current all animals over 72 months to a much “lighter-touch” regime. A formal consultation is expected on this very shortly from the Food Standards Agency to which the Government Chemist will be responding.