Greenpeace report highlights hazardous chemicals in children’s clothing by Nick Boley
January 17, 2014, 13:12
Filed under: chemicals, Study Results | Tags: , , ,

The international environmental NGO, Greenpeace, has reported the results of a major study into children’s clothing. The study was designed to look at the presence and levels of potentially harmful chemicals which can be found in textile products.

The study found that a large number of chemicals, some of which are regulated in Europe, and others of which Greenpeace strongly consider should be the subject of more stringent regulation, are present in a wide range of children’s clothing, from a wide variety of manufacturers and retailers, made and purchased across many different countries worldwide.

The comprehensive technical study report, which details the analytical approaches used and stresses that the measurements were carried out in expert laboratories accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 for the analyses undertaken, particularly highlights the levels of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs). These are leached from clothing during washing and are harmful to the environment. Other classes of chemicals which were found by the study include phthalate esters, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), organotin compounds and antimony.  Phthalate esters are found in printed garments, where they are probably used as plasticisers.


Nanoparticles in tattoo ink – is it safe? by Nick Boley
November 12, 2013, 11:23
Filed under: Nanomaterials, Study Results, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Concerns have been raised about nanoparticles in tattoo ink following research carried out at the University of Bradford. Researchers in Germany have noticed an increase in health problems related to the increase in tattooing observed in society in recent years. Evidence suggests this could be related to nanoparticles migrating from tattoos through the skin and accumulating in the body.

Work has been carried out to characterise and measure nanoparticles in sunscreens, where concerns have been raised about safety. Work carried out previously at LGC has been successful in measuring nanoparticles in sunscreens using Field Flow Fractionation/Mass Spectrometry (FFF/MS). The question mus now be posed whether we need to develop similar procedures to measure anc characterise nanoparticles in tattoo inks?


High lead levels in Rice imported into US likely to be measurement issue by Nick Boley
May 9, 2013, 15:27
Filed under: Study Results | Tags: ,

Last month the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that a study had been carried out which showed levels of lead in imported rice more than 20 times higher than the level considered safe by the FDA, and in one case, over 100 times the level. The analyses of these rice samples, originating from countries in the Far East as well as EU countries such as Italy and the Czech Republic, were carried out at Monmouth University in New Jersey using X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF).

The results were alarming as high levels of lead in rice had not been previously found either in the US or in Europe.

However, other laboratories have been unable to reproduce the results found in this study and it now appears that there were problems with the instrument used in the Monmouth University laboratory. From my researches, it would appear that the University – in common with many academic institutions – does not hold accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 for the tests carried out. A good quality system – ISO/IEC 17025 – would have highlighted the problem at an early stage and prevented the embarrassment of reporting results which have then needed to be retracted.

So, before any formal report has been issued, this situation has been rectified. Perhaps we should be asking – not only of the FDA but other regulatory bodies across the world, why they do not look into the accreditation status of laboratories carrying out and reporting such studies.


New tests for endocrine disrupters developed in the US by Nick Boley
December 7, 2012, 13:14
Filed under: chemicals, Study Results

Scientists in the USA have developed a new testing approach for evaluating whether chemicals used in common applications such as flame retardants or in household products are likely to be endocrine disrupters (EDCs).

EDCs affect hormone regulation in humans and animals and are considered to be of particular concern at present and possibly responsible for a rise in many conditions including low sperm counts in humans, and fish undergoing gender change.

The new testing system, TiPED (tiered protocol for endocrine disruption) uses a number of testing protocols starting at the most basic level and then getting progressively more complex. Any chemical failing at the first hurdle can the either be redesigned or abandoned.

This system could both reduce the number of animal tests required whilst promoting the need to get an agreed definition of an EDC in Europe.

Formaldehyde in Food Contact Material Report by Nick Boley
July 24, 2012, 15:27
Filed under: Study Results | Tags:

The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (ICHP) have published their report on a proficiency test (PT) carried out in 2011 for the measurement of formaldehyde in food contact materials. 67 laboratories from across the EU took part.

The determination of formaldehyde in food contact materials has been prominent recently due to the melamine issue in China, and screening for formaldehyde in melamine kitchen ware from China has increased in the last 2 years. The Government Chemist, under its statutory function, has seen a small number of cases in this area in 2012 as referee analyst, and work is ongoing to improve methods of measurement for formaldehyde in a number of matrices, including kitchenware.

The results indicated that approximately 10% of laboratories performed poorly in the test with Z scores greater than |3|.