Major retailer to eliminate hazardous chemicals from products by Nick Boley
January 30, 2014, 10:31
Filed under: chemicals | Tags: ,

The luxury goods retailer Burberry has announced its intention to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from its products by 2020 as part of its long-term sustainability programme.

This plan will be communicated through the supply chain to manufacturers and suppliers with whom the company deals. The plan specifically cites alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEOs), perfluorocarbons and polyfluorinated compounds, and phthalates, and will require suppliers to show that products are free of these, and other hazardous chemicals. There will clearly be a need for analytical measurements to be made to support this, and Burberry will need to make clear what limit of detection is required for these substances to make them effectively free of the substances of concern.


Consultation Responses from the Government Chemist 4th Quarter 2013 by Nick Boley
January 27, 2014, 11:40
Filed under: Government Chemist Information, Uncategorized | Tags:

The Government Chemist responded to two consultations during October, November and December 2013. Details of the responses can be found here on the Government Chemist website.

The consultations covered:

  • European Commission DG Environment: Public Consultation on the revision of the Annexes of the Groundwater Directive
  • Food Standards Agency: The Feed Law Code of Practice Review


Denmark published guidance on avoiding phthalates by Nick Boley
January 23, 2014, 15:39
Filed under: chemicals | Tags: , , ,

Having decided to introduce legislation ban products containing phthalates in their country. the Danish Government have now published a comprehensive and informative guidance document for Danish industrial companies.

The guidance document gives advice on how to specify products which are phthalate free, how to select suppliers who may be able and willing to supply such materials, as well as giving a good deal of background on the REACH and CLP designations of phthalates. There a number of phthalates on the REACH candidate list of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs); these will eventually be subject to restriction across the EU, but Denmark wish to get ahead of the game on this one. One excellent piece of advice contained in the guide is that if a company wants to check whether a product is phthalate free, then testing by an accredited laboratory will provide evidence of this.

Phthalates are used in many products across a wide range of sectors. One common use is as a plasticiser, so many products made of , or containing, plastic could potentially contain phthalates. The guidance document is useful for any organisation wishing to remove phthalates from their supply chain, whether in Denmark or elsewhere in the EU.

CRD Publishes update on EU Endocrine Disrupter plans by Nick Boley
January 20, 2014, 10:23
Filed under: EU Information, Plant Protection | Tags: , ,

The Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD) of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published an update on EU deliberations on how to define and regulate endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

Work is ongoing in developing EU Directive 1107/2009, which is concerned with Plant Protection Products, to set criteria to determine what is an EDC. There has been input to this process from a number of bodies, including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and the European Commission’s Joint Research Council (JRC). The JRC have failed to reach a consensus, whilst EFSA believe that EDCs can be regulated in the same way as other toxic chemicals, i.e. they can have a threshold value. Many other contributors to this topic believe that no threshold value should be set for EDCs, and a “zero-tolerance” level is applicable.

The outcome of this process will define what Member States will have to do to remove EDCs from plant protection products (pesticides) going forward. These will need to be identified and, depending on whether a threshold limit is set or whether they will be regulated at a zero level, appropriate steps taken to find substitutes, as well as monitoring for the presence and/or level of EDCs. There will be a substantial effort involved in this, with a significant cost. Progress continues, albeit slowly, but a resolution is required in order that there can be clarity for regulators, farmers, analytical scientists and those who campaign for environmental protection.

Greenpeace report highlights hazardous chemicals in children’s clothing by Nick Boley
January 17, 2014, 13:12
Filed under: chemicals, Study Results | Tags: , , ,

The international environmental NGO, Greenpeace, has reported the results of a major study into children’s clothing. The study was designed to look at the presence and levels of potentially harmful chemicals which can be found in textile products.

The study found that a large number of chemicals, some of which are regulated in Europe, and others of which Greenpeace strongly consider should be the subject of more stringent regulation, are present in a wide range of children’s clothing, from a wide variety of manufacturers and retailers, made and purchased across many different countries worldwide.

The comprehensive technical study report, which details the analytical approaches used and stresses that the measurements were carried out in expert laboratories accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 for the analyses undertaken, particularly highlights the levels of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs). These are leached from clothing during washing and are harmful to the environment. Other classes of chemicals which were found by the study include phthalate esters, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), organotin compounds and antimony.  Phthalate esters are found in printed garments, where they are probably used as plasticisers.

Concerns over triclosan safety raised in European Parliament by Nick Boley
January 15, 2014, 18:01
Filed under: Environment/Ecology, EU Information | Tags: , ,

Concerns have been raised over the levels of triclosan, an antibacterial agent, in many common brands of toothpaste. A question in the European Parliament from the Romanian MEP Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu (see p391) has highlighted this issue following a move in Denmark to ban toothpastes containing triclosan. The response from the European Commission stated that the permitted maximum level of triclosan in toothpaste of 0.3% is safe.

This limit may well be reduced to 0.2% under the Cosmetics Directive in the future. However, the levels of triclosan in cosmetic products (toothpastes, handwashes, etc) in the UL has already given rise to significant concern, as things currently stand over 450 water bodies in the UK could be in breach of Water Framework Directive (WFD) environmental quality standards (EQS) for triclosan, and these need to be reduced. This was the subject of a presentation from Richard Hawkins of the Environment Agency at a recent meeting of the UK Chemicals Stakeholders Forum (UKCSF). Triclosan is considered to be an endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC), and so this story may keep going for some time.

UK to opt out of EU Psychoactive Substances Regulation by Nick Boley
January 13, 2014, 15:23
Filed under: Drugs | Tags: ,

The UK Government has announced that it will be seeking to opt out of the forthcoming EU Psychoactive Substances Regulation, which seeks to regulate new illicit drugs, often refereed to as “legal highs” in the UK.

The Government believes that the specific situation which pertains in the UK, which experiences more cases of new psychoactive drugs than nearly all other EU Member States, requires a different regulatory approach. The Government claims that it requires a more speedy and effective approach to deal with the increased level of activity in this area. Laboratory identification and measurement of these so-called legal highs is paramount in the fight against these substances, many of which can do significant harm to those who abuse them.