governmentchemist


New devices approved for drug driving testing by Nick Boley
May 27, 2015, 16:05
Filed under: Drugs, Forensics, UK Government Information | Tags: , ,

The Home Office have approved two further devices for carrying out roadside testing in cases of suspected driving whilst under the influence of illegal drugs.

The two devices are:

  • Draeger DrugTest 5000, previously approved for preliminary drug testing in 2012, and now for mobile preliminary drug testing from March 2015 for cannabis and cocaine
  • Securetec DrugWipe 3S S303G, approved for mobile preliminary drug testing from December 2014 for cannabis and cocaine

These are welcome developments in having validated and reliable testing devices available to police forces for the detection of drug driving. Devices for the detection of other illegal drugs are not yet available and, as we posted previously, no certified reference materials (CRMs) are available as yet to support these devices and their use. This distinguishes them from the roadside testing regime in place for drink driving cases.



Food allergy: Challenges and developments by Ellie Gadd
May 26, 2015, 11:48
Filed under: Allergies, Food and Feed | Tags:

Michael Walker, consultant referee analyst for the Government Chemist programme, gave a comprehensive talk on food allergies, touching on why food allergies are increasing and what is being done to counter this, during an All Island Environmental Health Forum conference on 21-22 May in Cork.

The conference was organised by the Environmental Health Association of Ireland (EHAI) and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Northern Ireland (CIEH NI).

Michael’s talk was part of the Thursday morning session on ‘Rethinking ‘Safe Food’ chaired by Peter Gaffey, Chairman, EHAI. Following a welcome by Peter and Ursula Walsh Chairman, CIEH NI, the opening address was given by Dr Pamela Byrne, CEO, Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

Anneke Toorop, Policy Officer, European Commission DG Health and Food Safety, gave a keynote speech on intelligence and investigation of food crime in the Netherlands and administrative assistance and cooperation in enforcement at the EU level.

Michael’s talk, entitled ‘Food Allergy, Challenges and developments’, touched on what is known of the underlying immunological basis of food allergy, the comparative risks and the current developments. He described challenges in labelling, catering, and science-based enforcement, including the current controversy on alleged almond contamination of cumin. He discussed ‘thresholds’ and illustrated supply chain security using examples from his recent published study with Hazel Gowland on allergy cases in the UK courts.  

The presentation slides, Food allergy – Challenges and developments, are available to download.



Novel RMs produced to support WFD analyses by Nick Boley

Scientists at the European Commission’s Joint Research Laboratory (JRC), based in Geel (Belgium) have developed a series of three water reference materials (RMs) containing priority hazardous substances (PHS) as defined under the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). These three novel materials contain:

  1. eight polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs),
  2. six polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and
  3. tributyltin

A recent report published under the Government Chemist’s Advisory Function on analytical measurement issues in relation to the WFD highlighted the dearth of reference materials to support laboratories carrying out monitoring of water bodies in support of the WFDs. These new materials provide an extremely welcome development to help and support monitoring laboratories in carrying out these measurements accurately and precisely at the very low concentrations required.



New planning regulations in Scotland – hazardous substances by Nick Boley
May 7, 2015, 11:11
Filed under: chemicals, Scottish Legislation | Tags: ,

The Scottish Government has published new legislation concerning the planning procedures where hazardous substances are involved: The Town and Country Planning (Hazardous Substances) (Scotland) Regulations 2015 (SSI 181).

Schedule 1 of the Regulations list in detail those hazardous substances covered, including maximum permitted quantities and concentrations for some specific substances such as polychlorodibenzofurans and polychlorodibenzodioxins. There will be a need for those making an application under this legislation to ensure these are properly measured using an accredited and robust analytical procedure.

 



Phthalate ban imminent? by Nick Boley
May 1, 2015, 12:03
Filed under: EU Regulation/Legislation, RoHS/WEEE | Tags: ,

The European Commission has produced a draft delegated directive which have the effect of adding four phthalates to the list of substances proscribed under the Restrictions of Hazardous Substances (RoHS2) Regulation. The maximum permitted concentration of these would be 0.1 % by weight.

The four phthalates are:

  • Diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)
  • Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP),
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and
  • Di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP)

All of these are commonly used as plasticisers in electrical cabling. These substances are readily measured using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), but laboratories would need to ensure they can measure accurately at the 0.1% level so that compliant and non-compliant materials can easily be differentiated.

If there is no objection to the proposal from member states, this will come into force within 2 months and would have to be adopted by member states by the end of 2016.