Chemicals Coffee Time Monthly, August 2022
Welcome to Chemicals Coffee Time Monthly, which is a “best bits” round-up of our weekly email newsletter, also called Chemicals Coffee Time (formerly Coronavirus Chemicals Update, as it started during Lockdown as a way of supporting people in the chemical industry who suddenly found themselves working from home). Many thanks to John Rawson of SHOLKEM CHEMIE ASSOCIATES LIMITED for suggesting a round-up newsletter, a good 18 months ago, and we’ve finally managed to get here!
Chemicals Coffee Time is a blend of chemical regulatory and safety news, recipes, Reasons to be Cheerful, quirky chemistry (we do like an unusual periodic table!), occasional rants about bad science, updates on chemical trade issues, and lots of input from our lovely readers.
To start us off in this LinkedIn version, we’ve got some current news from August 2022, and also some older items which are still hot topics. (But we can’t always talk about everything publicly, so to get the full weekly version, including access to the email archive, you can sign up here https://www.ghsclassificationcourses.com/home/newsletter-sign-up/).
Brexit has affected the UK chemical industry hugely, and also many EU chemical companies supplying the UK. Both EU-REACH and EU-CLP are EU regulations, rather than Directives, and they were “ported” into UK law as they stood on the 31st December 2020, with only minor changes for “workability”. (In theory, this should have excluded Poison Centre Notification under Annex VIII to CLP from UK law, but see below!).
One problem which we all came across was the lack of a Consolidated version for both laws. (At TT Environmental, we even produced our own version of UK-REACH, which we provided to our newsletter readers free of charge).
Luckily, consolidated versions of both these laws have now been produced, and are available from the UK government for free:
- UK-REACH https://www.legislation.gov.uk/eur/2006/1907/contents (many thanks to Simon Tilling of Steptoe & Johnson LLP for spotting this)
- GB-CLP – https://www.legislation.gov.uk/eur/2008/1272/contents (many thanks to Nicola Kaye of REACHLaw – Your Partner In Chemical Regulatory Compliance and Sustainability for finding this following the UK-REACH announcement)
- There’s also GB Cosmetics https://www.legislation.gov.uk/eur/2009/1223/contents (well done again to Nicola!)
Another Brexit “hot topic” is the amount of divergence between UK and EU law since Exit Day, which has mainly been My colleague Alison Potts gave a talk about this at ChemSpec UK on 1st June 2022, and a copy is available here (although since she gave it, there has been even more divergence): https://www.ghsclassificationcourses.com/uk-chemical-regulation/ .
The main issues are currently:
- which address should go on the product label (briefly, UK for the UK/ mainland GB, EU or NI for the EU, EU or NI for NI)
- should the UK use the new EU-SDS format which came into effect on the 1st January 2021, and which will be mandatory in the EU from 1st January 2023? (the HSE Helpdesk appear quite relaxed about doing this, but technically there would be a breach because the SDS sub-headings and headings differ, and these are written into law)
- does your classification/ SDS software have a format for the UK, EU and another for NI SDSs as well? (because NI uses the EU format but UK WELs)
- what are the differences in Harmonised/ Mandatory classifications, SVHCs, Restrictions and Authorisations
We are keeping an eye on the latter issue for our CLP Mastery trainees by producing a monthly divergence dashboard (this is August 2022 version, and probably out of date already – next version due 1st September 2022)
Annex VIII to CLP Retained in the UK
Thanks to Steven Marks of Airedale Chemical, we broke the news that Annex VIII to CLP had been inadvertently retained in UK law (not just once, but in 3 separate places).
At the time of writing, the Department of Health and Social Care, who are responsible for PCN in the UK, have announced that there will be a public consultation on whether Annex VIII should be removed from UK law, or retained.
There is currently conflict between advice on the .gov.uk website, which refers to the “old” system of sending SDSs to NPIS on a voluntary basis, and the fact that legally we should be compliant with Annex VIII, that is using a UFI on the label, and providing all of the information required as per the EU portal.
The most important thing is don’t panic – there are options around this, and you don’t want to take an action which may be expensive (in terms of time and workload) but which may not turn out to be necessary.
- if you have notified to NPIS for Northern Ireland, by sending them an IUCLID6 PCN file, that is deemed to be notified to the UK under Annex VIII already
- if you have sent in SDSs voluntarily, you have notified these mixtures under the old system
For more advice and practical tips on what your options are, see https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/annex-viii-clp-uk-1st-july-2022-tt-environmental-ltd/
A separate chemical legislation issue which came to bite many UK chemical companies this spring was an alteration in the status of Gamma–butyrolactone (GBL) and /or 1,4–butanediol (1,4-BDO) under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations and the Controlled Drugs Act, first highlighted to newsletter readers by Neil Hollis of BASF.
Despite sterling work by the Chemical Business Association, particularly Douglas Leech in trying to explain to the Home Office that many hundreds of companies would be adversely affected by this law, where there was no de minimis on the concentrations of these substances in mixtures, the industry was faced with suddenly having to comply with virtually no notice, when the effective deadlines for getting people the correct security clearance were taken into effect.
Luckily, industry lobbying managed to avert the crisis, and a new deadline will be brought in which is easier for industry to comply with https://www.chemical.org.uk/about-us/cba-news/the-chemical-business-association-achieves-agreement-to-amend-regulations-on-gbl-and-bdo/.
Chemicals and the Offensive Weapons Act
If it seems like there is one chemical regulation after another in the UK this year, you’re probably right! The latest issue is the inclusion of some corrosives under the new Offensive Weapons Act 2019. Hibiscus PLC. (chemical labelling experts) have an excellent summary on this issue https://www.hibiscus-plc.co.uk/the-uks-offensive-w…, and the legislation itself is here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2019/17/conte…
This will particularly affect anyone selling corrosive chemicals online, particularly HF, which now has a concentration of 0%, i.e. it is considered within scope of this law at any concentration.
Can you help? the UK Government’s survey on UK-REACH closes on 1st September
If you are affected by UK-REACH registration, please do respond to this important survey which may lead to the extension of the UK-REACH registration deadlines.
For anyone used to EU-REACH, the deadlines may not seem to be too difficult, but it is really important to extend them as much as possible for people and companies who have suddenly become Importers from the EU, many of whom are finding this a very difficult situation to adapt to. Please do take the time to respond, and Option 1 is the option which gives the longest times to comply.
The online consultation is here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/reach-policy/consulta… and you can also send email responses to this email: REACHextension@defra.gov.uk, or in writing to REACH Policy and Legislation Team, Ground Floor, Seacole Building, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF. Note that there are some detailed questions on the government’s Impact Assessment document, so it helps to have a soft copy downloaded to your laptop when you answer these.
Hearing from the HSE
The HSE have just published another 4 MCL technical reports, although that does not mean these substances will necessarily be brought into the UK Mandatory Classification List. As usual, you can download these reports from https://www.hse.gov.uk/chemical-classification/gb-… via the HSE GB CLP Publication Table.
The list itself is in excel format, and needs to be downloaded onto your device to be read, but this does mean that the HSE website is very stable.
Keeping an eye on ECHA
Speaking of regulators’ websites, many parts of the ECHA website will be down from one minute past midnight on Saturday morning (10:01pm Friday night UK time) until 9 am on Monday morning (7:00 am UK time). This is a significant outage and presumably due to some kind of major update or repair work being carried out.
ECHA’s website does seem to be a lot more unstable than it used to be. Following a recent problem with the ECHA website chemical search function, my colleague Alison shared a potential work-around for accessing data:
- If you go into Google and type in the search term (chemical name, or CAS no. etc), then a space, then type in “site:https://echa.europa.eu/” (don’t put in the speech marks), this means Google only searches in the ECHA website itself.
- It should bring up the Infocard link, any REACH dossier links etc.
However, this doesn’t always work, as there can be cookie issues as well, but in the (likely) event that the ECHA website goes down again soon, I hope this method may be useful.
In happier ECHA news, Iceland (the country, not the UK supermarket chain) are now accepting Poison Centre Notifications via the Portal. Heidi Rasikari announced yesterday on ECHA’s Poison Centre group on LinkedIn (if you are involved in PCN for the EU, you can join this group for free, Heidi and her team are very helpful – https://www.linkedin.com/groups/12364138/).
Process Safety Corner
The Trish and Traci podcast is back! Trish Kerin of the IChemE Process Safety Centre and Traci Purdum, of Chemical Processing discuss the San Bruno pipeline explosion of 9th September 2010, and lessons learned from it, including grandfathering of standards, and incorrect drawings: https://www.chemicalprocessing.com/articles/2022/p… . A very useful podcast, including an excellent discussion on the differences between “spiking” and true pressure testing of pipelines; and how as-built drawings should be essential parts of the design and build process. As usual, this podcast has the text beneath it if you’ve not got time to listen to the whole thing.
The Weekend Read
A very interesting article by Dr Rob Long on “Myths and Symbols in Safety” https://safetyrisk.net/myth-and-symbols-in-safety/ .
I was particularly intrigued by an almost casual remark about “In a similar way we see projected ‘truths’ of linearity and causality with the “Swiss cheese”…“, as I have always had a problem with that model of major accidents, where the idea seems to be that barriers are in place and incidents can only occur where there are no barriers and the incident passes through the holes in the cheese.
That’s the reason! The visual model of the Swiss Cheese is linear! And most major accidents are definitely not linear, having multiple causes which may result in the incident only happening due to a number of concomitant failures (which is why I prefer the Bow Tie model, which can show these things, and interconnected problems a lot better).
Do you have a favourite model for major accidents, or is that just my inner nerd showing?
I’m really looking forward to CHEMUKEXPO 2023 already, as Ian Stone and his team did a sterling job with ChemUK 2022 (although I would say that, as I was honoured to be asked to give a talk, which you can find here: https://www.ghsclassificationcourses.com/the-magic-chemicals-tree-and-other-myths/.)
The Weekend Recipe
Today’s recipe ought to be seasonal as we should be in peak bilberry season, but if, like us, you’re suffering from a lack of bilberries, you may be able to find bottled bilberries in syrup. Morrisons used to stock these regularly until Sir Ken took them public, but word on the internet is that you may be able to find them in Polish shops.
Yorkshire Pudding Muckymouth Pie
- 4 oz plain flour
- 1 egg
- 1/2 pint of milk and water mixed together
- 8 oz bilberries (washed if fresh, or drained of as much liquid as possible if using bottled bilberries, pat dry with kitchen towel)
- 4 oz white sugar (but omit or reduce if using bottled bilberries, as the syrup usually makes them sweet enough)
Method: preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6, then put your yorkshire pudding tin into the oven with a little lard or dripping to heat through. Mix the flour, egg and milk together to make a batter. Mix the bilberries and sugar (if using any) together, and stir into the batter. Pour into the pre-heated tin and bake until crispy and golden, about 25 minutes.
I’ve not been able to source bilberries to test this recipe, but it should be absolutely delicious. There’s a recipe for traditional Muckymouth Pie i.e. bilberry pie in the 31st July 2020 edition of the newsletter. (If you haven’t a log-in for the website at www.ghsclassificationcourses.com, where the archive sits, you can sign up here: https://www.ghsclassificationcourses.com/home/news… ).
Reasons to be cheerful
Some Two Ronnies video clips:
- TV symbols:
- Inventors convention:
- Ministry of Pollution:
- Minister of Cuts:
Many thanks for reading this new LinkedIn newsletter, and many thanks to everyone who has contributed. If you have anything you’d like to share, please email me and I’ll do my best to include it in the next newsletter.
It would be great if you’d like to subscribe to this newsletter, or even our weekly email one https://www.ghsclassificationcourses.com/home/news….
Look forward to chatting to you in September,
Janet Greenwood, TT Environmental Ltd