Data sought by European Commission on nano ingredients in cosmetics by Nick Boley
March 31, 2015, 08:24
Filed under: Cosmetics, EU Information, Nanomaterials | Tags: , ,

The European Commission has asked for more detailed toxicity data on three nano ingredients which are quite commonly used in cosmetics.

The three substances are:

  • nano collodial silver;
  • nano styrene/acrylates copolymer; and
  • nano sodium styrene/acrylates copolymer.

Nano colloidal silver is used as an antimicrobial, has a lowest cut off particle size of 1 nm and a maximum concentration up to 1.0 % in cosmetic products. Although the toxicity data needs to be more detailed, there is still a difficulty in accurately characterising and measuring the concentration of nano-colloidal silver, with robust validated methods not being available.

Similar problems exist for the nano-forms of the two copolymers.




Watch List for pharmaceuticals established under WFD by Nick Boley

The European Commission has legally established a “Watch List” for three pharmaceutical substances in EU water bodies under the Water Framework Directive (WFD).

Commission Implementing Decision 2015/495 lists the three substances diclofenac, 17-beta-estradiol (E2) and 17-alpha-ethinylestradiol (EE2) for inclusion on this initial watch list, as well as Estrone (E1) a breakdown product of E2. This necessitates Member States making a series of measurements for these substances across a wide range of water bodies in order to ascertain if there is a potential problem. The proposed levels at which these should be monitored are exceptionally low – 10 ng/L for diclofenac, 0.4 ng/L for E2 and E1, and o.035 ng/L for EE2. The capability of many laboratories to measure at these levels is not proven, and the cost of these measurements will be significant.

The Commission has also proposed that some further substances now be added to this Watch List:

oxadiazon, methiocarb, 2,6-ditert-butyl-4-methylphenol, tri-allate, four neonicotinoid pesticides, the macrolide antibiotic erythromycin, and 2-ethylhexyl 4-methoxycinnamate. Monitoring for these substances, albeit at a higher level than the pharmaceuticals (between 9 and 6000 ng/L) must also be carried out, which will add a further cost burden to laboratories in Member States.

 Community Rolling Action Plan for 2015 adopted by ECHA by Nick Boley
March 18, 2015, 09:47
Filed under: chemicals, ECHA, REACH/CLP | Tags: , ,

The European Chemicals Agency, ECHA, has agreed with the Member States Committee, the 2015-17 Community Rolling Action Plan (CoRAP).

The plan details that 134 substances are due to be evaluated by Member States over the 2015-17 period, with 48 alone being evaluated this year. These substances have a suspicion that their manufacture and/or use could pose risks to human health and/or the environment. Some of the more common substances being evaluated across various Member States in 2015 are:

  • aluminium chloride
  • phenol
  • octamethyltrisiloxane, decamethyltetrasiloxane  and dodecamethylpenta- siloxane , all suspected by the UK authorities of being persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBT) substances.


European Commission publishes list of plant protection product active substances for substitution by Nick Boley

The European Commission has published a Regulation which details those active substances in plant protection products should be considered in the future to be substituted in view of their potentially toxic properties.

Commission Implementing Regulation 2015/408  lists a significant number of active substances which are considered to either be persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic (PBTs) or have endocrine-disrupting properties (EDCs).

The regulation comes into force on 1 August 2015, and has implications for laboratory measurements as this range of substances – which covers many different classes of chemical, both inorganic and organic, to be identified and measured in order to ascertain if they are present in any plant protection product.

Government Chemist conference – knowledge is power by Ellie Gadd

Francis Bacon declared ‘knowledge is power’ in the essay ‘Meditationes Sacrae’ written in 1597. More than 400 years later, Bacon’s declaration of ‘knowledge is power’ still rings true – particularly for the science and innovation work carried out under the Government Chemist programme.

We are committed to sharing the knowledge and expertise we gain through our research under the Government Chemist function and regularly publish advice and guidance.

Last November we held our biennial Government Chemist conference, ‘Beating the cheats:  Quality, safety and authenticity in the food chain’, at the Royal Society in London. Expert speakers outlined methods for “Beating the cheats”, including presentations aimed at sharing the latest cutting edge analytical methods and research developments in the fight against food fraud.

With the help of the Science Media Centre, we held a successful media briefing ahead of the conference where our panel of speakers outlined the major issues that would be presented at the event. The panel also included Dr Frieda Jorgensen, from Public Health England, who was invited to discuss the problem of campylobacter contamination in some supermarket chickens – a topic that had been hitting the headlines.

As a direct result of the briefing, some of the major issues around food authenticity, food safety and food fraud were highlighted in the national media. This included a half page feature on wine fraud in the Sunday Times which discussed the extent of fraud and mislabelling in the UK, and outlined government plans for Britain’s new food-policing unit to target the criminals behind the fraud.

Several national newspapers – including The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph and the Daily Mail – reported on the widespread problem of campylobacter contamination in supermarket fresh chicken.

Selvarani Elahi, Deputy Government Chemist, and Michael Walker, Consultant Referee Analyst for the Government Chemist programme, were interviewed by BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service. Selvarani discussed food fraud, adulteration and water content in frozen poultry and Michael discussed the safety of the supply chain, food fraud and allergen thresholds.

It’s not just through the media that we share information about our research; we also publish news stories and blogs and we even recorded some of the presentations at the Government Chemist conference which have recently been uploaded to the Government Chemist pages on GOV.UK.

So if you want to know more about what we are doing, check out GOV.UK/GovernmentChemist where you can subscribe for Government Chemist updates or alerts.

REACH Annex updated for PAH method by Nick Boley
March 3, 2015, 10:03
Filed under: Uncategorized

We reported last year that the European Commission had notified the World Trade Organisation of its intention to amend REACH Annex XVII to update the method to be used for determining Benzo(a)pyrene at a maximum level of 1 mg/kg and all 8 notified polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) at a maximum level of 10 mg/kg for the sum of these, in tyre extender oils.

The new method, EN 16143:2013, is specific to the measurement of these PAHs, whereas the previous method was not appropriate.

The full details are given in  Commission Regulation 2015/326.