New POP review from Stockholm Convention by Nick Boley
February 18, 2014, 10:42
Filed under: chemicals, Global issues | Tags: ,

The Stockholm Convention, an environmental treaty which aims to eliminate or restrict the production and use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) at a global level, has produced a report following its ninth meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants  Review.

The report showed that chlorinated naphthalenes and hexachlorobutadiene were recommended for listing in Annexes A and C of the Convention. Annex A covers substances which are planned for elimination with specific, time-limited exemptions. Annex C covers POPs that are unintentionally produced, for example as industrial by-products and combustion processes.

Additionally, the committee decided that decabromodiphenyl ether met Annex D criteria. Annex D lists additional POPs.

Revised guidance on alternatives to perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS) its salts, PSOSF and related chemicals was adopted by the committee. These chemicals have been a cause for concern in EU Member States for some years.


Further Restrictions on Hair Dyes in the EU by Nick Boley
May 30, 2013, 09:47
Filed under: Cosmetics, EU Information, Global issues | Tags:

The European Union is planning to restrict a further 22 hair dyes from use in line with a notification document sent to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Annex III of the EU Cosmetics Regulations will be amended to include these further 22 substances, and the Annex will also be amended to include 10 hair dye substances and hydrogen peroxide authorised for use in products intended for colouring eyelashes under strict use conditions and obligatory warnings, such as “for professional use only”.

The proposal, Commission Regulation 483/2013 of 24 May 2013, states that benzyl alcohol will have to be indicated in the list of a cosmetics product’s ingredients when its concentration exceeds 0.001% in leave-on products and 0.01% in rinse-off products.

HBCDD set for universal ban by Nick Boley

The brominated flame retardant, hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) is set to be banned from use across the globe. HBCDD is a persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic  (PBT) compound and will become the 23rd compound to find its way onto Annex A of the Stockholm Convention.

Under REACH, HBCDD will become an authorised substance from August 2015.


UN/WHO Report on EDCs published by Nick Boley
February 21, 2013, 12:11
Filed under: chemicals, Environment/Ecology, Global issues | Tags: ,

A new report “State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs)” has been published jointly by the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

A press release has been issued by the United Nationals Environment Programme (UNEP) about the report, and they have also prepared a summary of the report.

The report itself, which runs to some 298 pages, is a comprehensive treatise about endocrine disruption. It lists a number of very common chemicals which are known to have EDC properties incuding a number of pesticides and insecticides such as chlordane, tributyltin oxide, DDT and parathion, and general industrial chemicals such as bisphenol A, nicotine, octylphenol, nonylphenol, PBBs/PBDEs and sodium fluoride.

Although the report concentrates on the effects of EDCs, we must bear in mind that it is necessary to develop and maintain robust and valid analytical methods for identifying and quantifying these chemicals in many matrices.

United Nations Environment Programme Concerns over Mercury by Nick Boley

Welcome back for the first blog of 2013.

UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme, has expressed concern over the level of mercury emissions globally,  but especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Mercury is highly toxic to humans, and is used in many industries across the world. It can find its way into airborne emissions (due to its volatility) as well as into water and land. In the form of methylmercury, an organic mercury complex which is bioaccumulative, it is particularly toxic.

Mercury is one of the more difficult metals measured in the laboratory, but modern techniques such as ICP-MS have overcome some of the historic difficulties. However, monitoring mercury levels, and establishing which mercury species is present in a contaminated situation, still presents challenges to analytical laboratories. It is always recommended to ensure that competent laboratories, with accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 are used to carry out mercury measurements.