New CEN Publications: August & September 2014 by Nick Boley
September 30, 2014, 11:21
Filed under: CEN Standards | Tags:

The following list shows standards and technical documents published by the European Standardisation Organisation, CEN, during August and September 2014, some of which are relevant to chemical measurement in support of regulation.

EN 16502:2014 – Test method for the determination of the degree of soil acidity according to Baumann-Gully

CEN/TR 15071:2014 – Safety of toys – National translations of warnings and instructions for use in EN 71 series

EN ISO 15512:2014 – Plastics – Determination of water content.




European Commission plans new standards in chemical measurement for 2015 by Nick Boley
September 26, 2014, 10:04
Filed under: chemicals, EU Information, Water | Tags: , ,

The European Commission has published a list of areas where it expects to see new standard developed during 2015.

Three areas of are of specific interest for chemical measurements:

  • standards for analytical methods for water pollutants and certain biological and microbiological parameters to be used in the implementation of the EU’s water framework Directive (WFD);
  • validated standard methods for the monitoring of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); and
  • standards for the determination of flammability and the identification of allergenic substances in textiles

It will be interesting to see how these progress, particularly the proposal covering analytical methods in support of the Water Framework Directive where there is a clear need to develop methodology capable of accurately measuring key pollutants at the extremely low levels specified in the Quality Standards Directive.

We will keep an eye on this and provide further information as it becomes available.

Two amendments to EU Cosmetics Regulations published by Nick Boley
September 26, 2014, 09:53
Filed under: Cosmetics, EU Regulation/Legislation | Tags: , ,

The European Commission have published two amendments to the EU Cosmetics Regulations (Commission Regulation 1223/2009) which change the levels of certain preservatives in cosmetics.

Commission Regulation 1003/2014 specifies that from July 2015 cosmetics products can only be placed on the market if they contain a maximum of 0.0015 % of a mixture in the ratio 3:1 of 5-chloro-2-methylisothiazol 3(2H)-one and 2-methylisothiazol-3 (2H)-one).  In addition, 2-Methyl-2H-isothiazol-3-one is only permitted at a maximum concentration of  0.01 %.

Commission Regulation 1004/2009 specifies that from July 2015 cosmetics products can only be placed on the market if they contain a maximum of 0.4% (single ester) or 0.8 % (mixture of esters) of 4-Hydroxybenzoic acid and its Methyl- and Ethyl- esters, and their salts. Additionally, 4-Hydroxybenzoic acid and its Methyl- and Ethyl- esters, and their salts, have a maximum concentration of 0.14 % (as acid) as the sum of all compounds under this definition.

New ISO Standard for plasticiser determination in toys by Nick Boley
September 17, 2014, 14:45
Filed under: chemicals, Toys | Tags: , ,

The International Standards Organisation, ISO, have published a new standard, ISO 8124-6, which lays down methods of analysis for the determination of six toxic phthalate plasticisers in toys. The phthalates concerned are:

  • di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP);
  • benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP);
  • bis-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP);
  • di-n-octyl phthalate (DNOP);
  • di-iso-nonyl phthalate (DINP); and
  • di-iso-decyl phthalate (DIDP).

The work on developing the standard was led by the Standardisation Administration of China (SAC).


It is important that internationally-agreed methods of analysis for these compounds are available to help trade and enforce regulations such as REACH.

Concern expressed over plans to restrict borax under REACH by Nick Boley

There is wide concern in a number of industrial sectors regarding the proposed restriction, under the REACH regulations, of anhydrous disodium tetraborate, known colloquially as borax. This substance was listed by the European Chemicals agency, ECHA, earlier this year and is included on a list to be recommended for restriction to the European Commission by the Spring of 2015. A public consultation is currently underway on this recommendation with a deadline of 30 November.

Concern has been particularly expressed regarding the likely restriction by the jewellery industry. Borax is used in the measurement procedure used to determine the gold content of gold alloy jewellery, as specified in ISO 11426 “Jewellery — Determination of gold in gold jewellery alloys — Cupellation method (fire assay)”.

This method is the only procedure which is internationally accepted and mandated for this purpose. Therefore a restriction on the use of borax in Europe would seriously affect the ability of those in the jewellery industry to conduct such determinations. The identification and validation of substitutes for borax for use in this procedure would only be of value if the method could be revised, but there is currently no work item for this within ISO or CEN.

This situation illustrated the need for various agencies and organisations to work hand-in-hand to ensure that the consequences of proposed restrictions (and authorisations) are properly managed to ensure that any uses of such substances are fully understood and measures put in place to enable industry to continue using appropriate international and/or European standard methods where these are mandatory.


2015 Government Chemist Advisory Function Seminar by Nick Boley

Following the successful seminar held in Manchester in February 2013 entitled “REACH and CLP enforcement: measurement and related issues for Public Analysts and Enforcement Authorities”, the Government Chemist has been asked to run a repeat of this seminar so that a wider audience from Public Analysts and Local Enforcement Authorities (Trading Standards, etc) can benefit.

The free seminar will take place on Thursday 19 March 2015, at the Lodge, IET, Austin Court, Birmingham, B1 2JP.

The programme will be the same, and it is hoped that most of the speakers will be able to reprise their presentations.

 Draft Programme 19 Mar 2015

ECHA give more detailed guidance on Phthalates in Toys Restrictions by Nick Boley
September 9, 2014, 08:27
Filed under: ECHA, REACH/CLP, Toys | Tags: , ,

ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency, has compiled more detailed guidance on the restriction on the use of phthalates in toys and childcare products under Annex XVII of REACH, in the form of a Q&A article.

The most relevant section of this article concerns the “concentration limit of 0.1 % by weight of the plasticised material in toys and childcare articles.” This should be interpreted as “the concentration limit of the 3 phthalates mentioned is to be calculated taking into account all the plasticised material contained in the entire article which is being placed on the market. In the specific example of a doll, the concentration of phthalates should be calculated on the basis of the total weight of the plasticised material of the whole doll and not only on the plasticised material of the head.”

Therefore, laboratories measuring the concentrations of the 3 phthalates (DEHP, DBP, BBP) need to ensure that they take samples for analysis from toys and childcare articles appropriately to avoid obtaining a false result.