governmentchemist


ECHA push for Substance Identity Completeness by Nick Boley
January 22, 2015, 10:52
Filed under: chemicals, ECHA, REACH/CLP | Tags: ,

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)  has agreed the first steps of a new approach to improve the completeness check of incoming REACH registrations. It aims to reinforce the automatic completeness check rules on substance identity (SID) information, and will request the identification of the scope of joint registrations with regard to SID information.

This recognises the importance of accurate substance identity data, and the correct and consistent naming of chemical compounds registered under REACH. ECHA wants to work in tandem with the REACH SIDC project, which covers the analysis of substance identity and substance sameness of complex substances in REACH. It is organising a workshop to be held in Brussels on 27-28 April 2015, to which any organisation with an interest in this should attend.

It is very important for companies registering substances under REACH to be able to carry out, or draw on, validated analytical techniques to properly identify a substance, or determine the composition of mixtures and complex substances.

 



NAO Concern over Forensic Science Oversight by Nick Boley
January 21, 2015, 11:01
Filed under: Forensics, UK Government Information | Tags: ,

The National Audit Office (NAO) have published a report, in the form of a briefing for the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, about the Home Office oversight of forensic science in the UK.

Whilst much of the report’s findings are well outside the scope of this blog, there are some which are not. The NAO is concerned that there is a lack of transparency regarding the level of forensic work undertaken in internal police laboratories, with particular regard to the volume and cost of services provided, and, more worringly, the accreditation status of these laboratories.

All external providers of forensic services to police forces must hold accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 for the work they carry out. Internal providers are also meant to hold such accreditation, but not all have achieved it yet. The report notes that the Forensic Science Regulator (FSR) has no powers to monitor this and ensure compliance, in contrast to the Regulator’s powers with regard to external providers. This has implications for the quality of work carried out in some laboratories, where it can not be independently demonstrated to be of the quality demanded. This could be detrimental, potentially, for the Criminal Justice System (CJS).

It is always recommended that analytical measurements should be covered by accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 so that confidence in the results is higher, and systems in place to check the quality of measurements. The cost of implementing and maintaining accreditation is not insignificant, and the report highlights the lack of a level-playing field in this regard. This could undermine forensic science provision and lead to withdrawals or cost-cutting for external providers, which would also impact negatively on the quality of forensic work and therefore on the CJS.

 



CLP Regulation update published in UK by Nick Boley
January 20, 2015, 08:48
Filed under: chemicals, REACH/CLP, transport, UK Legislation | Tags: , , ,

An amendment to the existing UK legislation covering the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of chemicals has been published. The Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Chemicals (Amendments to Secondary Legislation) Regulations 2015 (SI 21) has a wide-reaching effect.

This new SI fully implements Regulation EC 1272/2008 (the CLP Regulation), and takes into account the number of other Directives which are affected by CLP legislation in the EU. They also amend the provisions as they apply to merchant shipping, and apply UK-wide. They also amend the UK REACH legislation (S.I. 2008/2852; amended by S.I. 2009/238 (Northern Ireland) and S.I. 2009/716), adding a new sub-paragraph (1ka)  in Part 1 of Schedule 3 to give the definition of a hazardous substance or mixture in line with CLP regulations.

The Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2009 (known as CHIP), which implemented Directives 67/548/EEC and 1999/45/EC, are revoked by Regulation 36 of the Biocidal Products and Chemicals (Appointment of Authorities and Enforcement) Regulations 2013, as a result of this legislation.

This comes into effect on 31 May and 1 June 2015.



Four phthalates to be listed under RoHS by Nick Boley
January 19, 2015, 11:36
Filed under: chemicals, EU Regulation/Legislation, RoHS/WEEE | Tags: ,

The European Commission has advised the World Trade Organisation (WTO) of its intention to include the four phthalates DEHP, BBP, DBP and DiBP to the list of restricted substances under the Restriction of Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic devices legislation. These substances are considered by some to be endocrine disrupters (EDCs), although there is not general agreement across Europe on this.

The proposed restriction is due to be implemented in 2019, although will not apply to medical devices and monitoring and control instruments until 2021.



Guidance for Forensic Laboratories to avoid DNA Contamination – Consultation by Nick Boley
January 15, 2015, 10:14
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

The UK Forensic Science Regulator (FSR) has published a consultation on a guidance document for forensic laboratories handling DNA samples within the Criminal Justice system.

The document amplifies the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025 – under which all forensic laboratories must be accredited – to give guidance on how laboratories should be designed, set up and operated to avoid and control potential contamination. This is a very comprehensive document which covers physical and personnel matters, and should enable forensic laboratories to avoid the type of contamination which can cause evidence to become unsafe.

Views are sought from stakeholders on this document via this link.



New EA approach to hazardous pollutants discharges by Nick Boley

The Environment Agency will be introducing more stringent rules covering discharges of hazardous chemicals in surface waters. following a partial response to a consultation on this subject which closed in December 2013 to amend the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010.

The procedure for screening hazardous pollutants in water discharges will be tightened, with the emphasis on the more toxic pollutants and is aimed to deliver compliance with the agency’s “no deterioration” policy which requires “control of discharges which cause more than 10% deterioration against the EU Environmental Quality Standard (EQS)”.

One of the main concerns about this change of direction is from those responsible for measuring pollutants in laboratories – including water companies. The methods of analysis available for many of the most highly toxic pollutants which would be caught by this change struggle to cope with the current levels as specified in the EQS and so there is a potential large cost to laboratories to gear up their procedures to cope. The ability of measurement methods to enforce and monitor pollution under any regulatory regime is an important aspect and should not be ignored.

 



New approval for roadside drug detection instrument by Nick Boley
January 5, 2015, 12:25
Filed under: Drugs, Forensics | Tags: ,

The UK Home Office has approved a second mobile preliminary drug testing device, for use by the police at the roadside to detect drug residues in drivers suspected of having taken illegal or controlled drugs.

The Securetec DrugWipe 3S S303G, which is manufactured by Securetec Detektion-Systeme AG can detect cocaine and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol – THC – (the main active ingredient of cannabis.

We have previously maintained that for roadside testing for illegal or controlled drugs to be effective, validated and reliable devices for carrying out such testing are needed, and we still believe that certified reference materials (CRMs) are required to calibrate these if they are to be used for evidential purposes.