Marine Management Organisation publish sediment analysis guidelines by Nick Boley
August 27, 2014, 15:55
Filed under: Environment/Ecology, UK Government Information | Tags: , ,

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO), an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by DEFRA, has published comprehensive guidelines on the chemical analysis of sediment samples which need to be carried out in support of marine licensing applications.

The guidelines explain which chemical species need to be measured and includes:

  • polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • organochlorine pesticides
  • brominated flame retardants such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD)
  • other chlorobiphenyls
  • organophosphorus pesticides
  • petroleum hydrocarbons
  • other organotin compounds
  • other anti-fouling agents
  • polychlorinated dibenzodioxins or polychlorinated dibenzofurans
  • radiological analysis

Trace metals are also included in the guidance.

The guidance makes clear that quality assurance carried out should include the use of a certified reference material (CRM) or in-house reference material (IHRM) with very batch, as well as the acceptable precision and recovery values, depending on the concentrations of the contaminants found.

Overall, excellent guidance which is comprehensive and easy to understand. The QA section is welcomed, but no reference has been made to laboratories being accredited to ISO/IEC 17025, which is somewhat surprising in the context of the guidance given.




NEW Guide to Safety Data Sheets from ECHA by Nick Boley
August 19, 2014, 08:02
Filed under: EU Information | Tags: ,

ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency, has published a new e-guide to completing Safety Data Sheets (SDSs).

The guide is a significantly more comprehensive publication than any that has gone previously, enabling users to get more depth where they may require it, as well as giving numerous examples to illustrate key points.

The guide also makes clear the chemical and physico-chemical properties which need to be understood – and in many cases obtained by measurement – and entered onto the SDS. This illustrates nicely the need for accurate measurements to be made in order to properly describe a substance and its properties, necessary for the proper completion of an SDS.

European industry produces leaflet on nanotechnology by Nick Boley
August 14, 2014, 09:49
Filed under: Industry, Nanomaterials | Tags: ,

The European Chemical Industry Council (cefic), which provides the voice of the chemical industry in Europe, has published a leaflet on nanotechnology, endorsed by 15 industrial associations across Europe.

The leaflet, entitled “Europe needs safe and innovative nanotechnologies and nanomaterials“, highlights the importance of nanotechnology to the European economy going forward. It covers innovation, the importance of safety and EU regulation (including REACH) and how this relates to nanomaterials.

The final point  made in the leaflet concerns the establishment of a workable definition of a nanomaterial and the effective implementation for this. This is a point which has been made strongly in a number of quarters, including on this blog previously. Effective regulation can only be achieved once an agreed and workable definition of a nanomaterial has been promulgated, which can be effectively enforced and be underpinned by, validated measurement methods.

1st REACH authorisation granted by Nick Boley
August 14, 2014, 08:24
Filed under: chemicals, EU Regulation/Legislation, REACH/CLP | Tags: ,

The European Commission granted its first ever authorisation of a substance under the REACH legislation on 7 August.

The substance bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) (CAS No 117-81-7; EC No 204-211-0) has been authorised for use by Rolls Royce plc for use during the diffusion bonding and manufacture of aero engine fan blades. The authorisation was granted for a period of seven and a half years, but research must be carried out to identify suitable alternatives for use in the longer term.

Other application for authorisation of the use of DEHP and other toxic phthalates currently covered by REACH restrictions have been made by other companies, and these are currently undergoing scrutiny by the European Chemicals Agency, ECHA.

Trade body questions need for European nanomaterials register by Nick Boley
August 11, 2014, 09:38
Filed under: EU Information, EU Regulation/Legislation, Nanomaterials | Tags:

Trade body the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) has questioned the need for the possible establishment of an EU-wide register of nanomaterials.

This is in response to a consultation from the European Commission to ask organisations in Member States their views on implementing some form of registration system for manufactured nanomaterials. To date, systems have been implemented on a national basis by Belgium, Denmark and France.

The CIA believe that a new register would not guarantee better safety, or increase consumer trust and confidence. The consultation does not indicate that these are key issues. Additionally, nanomaterials could be regulated under REACH – indeed they are to some extent – and the question of why another registration system is needed has been rightly asked.

A widely-held view is that any form of regulation or registration of nanomaterials should not be considered until the EU definition of a nanomaterial has been agreed and adopted, and that validated methods of measurement have been established to underpin any definition. Considering regulation before these are in place are seen as “putting the cart before the horse” in many places. This is something with which we fully agree.

Consultation on Chromium (VI) in toys launched by European Commission by Nick Boley
August 5, 2014, 10:08
Filed under: EU Information, EU Regulation/Legislation, Toys | Tags: , ,

The European Commission has launched a consultation regarding the levels of chromium (VI) in toys, following publication of a preliminary opinion from the Commission’s Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (Scher) about the safe limits of this toxic form of chromium in toys, taking into account many factors which add risk to products.

The preliminary opinion has considered that the current limits for chromium (VI) in toys should be revised downwards to 0.0094 mg/kg for scraped-off materials (previously 0.2), 0.0008 mg/kg for dry, powder-like or pliable materials (0.02) and 0.0002 mg/kg for liquids or sticky materials (0.005).

If these limits are revised downwards, it is important that analytical measurements can be accurately and precisely made at these very low levels. Methods have been developed which are able to measure chromium (VI) at the current levels; further development would be needed in order to measure accurately at the proposed levels which are approximately 2 orders of magnitude lower.

Work funded under the Government Chemist Programme advisory function on determining chromium (VI) at very low levels in water using HPLC-ICP-MS has demonstrated that it is possible to achieve both accuracy and precision at levels of 0.02 µg/L (equivalent to 0.00002 mg/kg).  To further develop this approach for toys would therefore depend on validating a suitable extraction process which maintains the integrity of chromium in its +6 oxidation state (which is not a trivial undertaking) whilst ensuring any resulting solution contains chromium (VI) at an appropriate concentration for measurement.