governmentchemist


Our legislation updates are moving
June 24, 2015, 11:17
Filed under: Government Chemist Information

Our regular updates on legislative changes that relate to chemical measurement and the role of the Government Chemist are moving to our main website pages on GOV.UK.

These updates provide information on scientific and regulatory issues that affect the measurement community and as a result, are receiving increasing volumes of web traffic. To ensure that these updates are easily accessible, and to maximise their reach, they have been moved to GOV.UK/governmentchemist.

To ensure you continue to receive these updates, subscribe to our news alerts.

We will be continuing to post blogs providing commentary on our activities delivered under the Government Chemist programme, including publishing presentation slides, information on our training and blogs signposting you to media coverage.

Our recent updates on GOV.UK are:

CEN update: information affecting chemical measurements

Restricted substances in electrical and electronic equipment

Amendment to ecological criteria for paints and varnishes

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New devices approved for drug driving testing
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.



Novel RMs produced to support WFD analyses

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
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?
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.



REACH Restriction for lead adopted
April 29, 2015, 11:39
Filed under: EU Regulation/Legislation, REACH/CLP, Toys | Tags: , ,

The European Commission has adopted a new restriction under the REACH Regulation which covers lead in consumer items which “during normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use, be placed in the mouth by children.”

The Regulation, 2015/628,  restricts the placing on the market of consumer items containing 0.05 % lead, by weight, overall or in those parts accessible to children unless it can be demonstrated that the rate of lead release from such an article or any such accessible part of an article, whether coated or uncoated, does not exceed 0.05 μg/cm2 per hour (equivalent to 0.05 μg/g/h), and, for coated articles, that the coating is sufficient to ensure that this release rate is not exceeded for a period of at least two years of normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use of the article.

Enforcement of this Regulation depends upon the more subjective assessment of whether normal conditions of use would endanger children by the placing of the items in the mouth, as well as the more objective measurement of the lead content, which should not prove a significant issue for any competent laboratory accredited for such tests.



REACH restriction submitted on D4/D5 in personal care products

The UK authorities have submitted their application to CHA for a restriction under REACH on the use of the cosmetic ingredients D4 (octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane) and D5 (decamethylcyclopentasiloxane) in wash-off personal care products. The proposal asks that an upper limit of 0.1% applies to each of these.

These can be determined analytically by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). A further siloxane in this family, D6 (dodecamethylcyclopentasiloxane), is frequently found in mixtures with D4 and D5, but is not included in the scope of this restriction application.