governmentchemist


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.



Trainee public analysts attend intensive week-long residential course by Ellie Gadd
April 30, 2015, 10:49
Filed under: Food and Feed | Tags: ,

The annual residential training course, organised for trainee public analysts by the Government Chemist programme, was a huge success with fantastic feedback from the delegates.

The course was held at the University of Reading from 20-24 April and featured a mix of lectures, laboratory practical sessions and interactive exercises over an intensive week-long schedule; it included three 12-hour days.

Some of the delegates are studying for the Mastership in Chemical Analysis (MChemA), the statutory qualification required to practice as a public analyst and several sessions were devoted to demystifying the exam process encouraging other delegates to consider taking the qualification.

Lectures were given by public analysts currently in practice and from experts outside the profession, providing a welcomed opportunity for networking.

Niki Georgousi, and Paul Evans watch Emma Downie setting up the microscope

Niki Georgousi, and Paul Evans watch Emma Downie setting up the microscope

Chris Widdrington working on the microscopy practical exercises

Chris Widdrington working on the microscopy practical exercises

The mycology practical session

The mycology practical session

Jane White MChemA demonstrates microscopy technique to Bharathi Reddy

Jane White MChemA demonstrates microscopy technique to Bharathi Reddy

Niki Georgousi makes careful notes of her mycology specimens

Niki Georgousi makes careful notes of her mycology specimens

Jane White MChemA teaching microscopy

Jane White MChemA teaching microscopy

Dr Alex Kersting speaking on the MChemA exam process and RSC topics

Dr Alex Kersting speaking on the MChemA exam process and RSC topics

All delegates gave excellent feedback stating that the course met their expectations to a high degree.

Our thanks go to the speakers and practical session demonstrators for the care and effort they put in to preparing and delivering their material, and to the technical and administrative staff of the University of Reading for their kind assistance in making the course run smoothly.

Tutors on the course are but modestly rewarded for their careful preparation and authoritative delivery yet return year on year, passing on their expertise to the next generation of official control scientists and providing the UK with a bulwark against unsafe and fraudulent food in the supply chain.

The Food Standards Agency was the main sponsor of the event, with Defra and the Analytical Chemistry Trust Fund also providing financial support. The event was organised by the Government Chemist Programme, which is housed within LGC and funded by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.



REACH Restriction for lead adopted by Nick Boley
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 by Nick Boley

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.

 



ALDI joins list of companies signed up to Greenpeace detox commitment by Nick Boley
April 15, 2015, 10:11
Filed under: chemicals, Toxicology | Tags: , , ,

ALDI has become the latest company to sign up to Greenpeace’s Detox Commitment. As a consequence they will ensure that a raft of toxic chemicals will be eliminated from all their textile products, and that full consumer information on this will be available. The company joins other discount retailers such as LiDL in signing up to the Detox Commitment. The chemicals which are covered by this ban are:

  • alkylphenols;
  • phthalates;
  • brominated and chlorinated flame retardants;
  • azo dyes;
  • organotin compounds;
  • perfluorinated chemicals;
  • chlorobenzenes;
  • chlorinated solvents;
  • chlorophenols;
  • short-chain chlorinated paraffins; and
  • heavy metals (cadmium, lead, mercury and chromium (VI))

This will place the onus on ALDI’s suppliers to ensure these chemicals, already shown by Greenpeace to be toxic and present in many widely-traded products, are no longer present, which will involve further analytical testing to confirm their absence. Analytical methods used for such testing would need to be sensitive as the levels of these chemicals can be very low, and they can have toxic effects even at very low concentrations.



5 Legal Highs banned by Nick Boley
April 9, 2015, 08:42
Filed under: Drugs, Forensics, UK Legislation | Tags: ,

The Government have moved to introduce a ban on five further so-called Legal Highs from 10 April 2015. This has been done by means of a Temporary Class Drug Order (TCDO), following recommendations from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). The ACMD were concerned about the psychoactive nature of the substances.

The 5 drugs which are covered by this ban are:

  • 3,4-Dichloromethylphenidate (3,4-DCMP);
  • Ethylphenidate;
  • Isopropylphenidate (IPP or IPPD);
  • Methylnaphthidate (HDMP-28);
  • Propylphenidate;
  • Any stereoisomeric form of any of these substances and any preparation or other product containing any of these substances.

Forensic laboratories will need robust, validated analytical methods to identify and measure these substances, and will need to extend their scope of ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation to take account of this.