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Chemicals Coffee Time Monthly, January 2024

Happy February! I hope this newsletter finds you safe and well.

Who knows what 2024 is going to bring, whether professionally or personally? I thought we should start with a wonderful poem by Minnie Louise Haskins, which King George VI quoted at the start of World War II:

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown”.

And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.

That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way”.

The full poem is here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gate_of_the_Year

One thing which we can confidently predict is that there will be changes in EU chemical regulations, so let’s start there.

EU news

21st ATP to CLP published

Alison Potts writes: The EU Commission were quick off the mark with a publication on the 5th January of the 21st ATP to CLP.

Many thanks to Breda Kosi for the link: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:L_202400197

These Annex VI Harmonised Classifications will apply in the EU (and Northern Ireland) from the 1st September 2025 – or from the date at which you are notified of the change in your supply chain (which may be earlier).

The obvious headline is that this is further divergence between the EU and GB for the 28 substances added and 24 substances amended. Which will make it increasingly difficult to try and manage Safety Data Sheets and Labels for small companies trying to trade in both markets.

However, I want to pick up 4 specific points that might not be making the headlines and LinkedIn feeds this week. I’m alternating good and bad points for the benefit of my blood pressure:

  • Lead

A (tiny) win for science. The lead entry (CAS# 7439-92-1) has been split into two separate listings – lead powder [particle diameter <1mm] and lead massive [particle diameter => 1mm]. This was a fairly tough battle in Caracal with the science pointing to the different solubilities and therefore different aquatic toxicities based on particle size. I think the split listing is a positive sign of more progressive thinking from the regulator.

  • Biocidal active – BIT

Bad news for everyone – BIT (1,2-benzisothiazolin-3-one) CAS# 2634-33-5. The is one of the most versatile biocidal actives and is used in Disinfectants, general product preservatives, polymer preservatives, liquid cooling systems, slimicides and metalworking fluids (PT2, 6, 9,11, 12 & 13). Up until now, the sensitizing threshold has been considered to be 0.05% (allergen warning at 0.005%), and the substance could kept at around 0.04% in formulation which would still be effective without triggering the classification.

The new SCL published in the 21st ATP would set the sensitization threshold at 0.036% (allergen warning at 0.0036%) – hovering exactly around the effectiveness concentration for consumer detergents, and the preservative threshold for paints and other products.

Formulators are increasingly under pressure to find biocidal actives that are available (supported through BPR in GB and EU), effective and aren’t detrimental to product classification. The fewer options that are available, the greater the risk of cross sensitization of the general public (because the same group of substances will be present in so many products!) And ultimately, the more resistant bacteria, microbes, and fungi will become.

I’m horribly close to a ‘Pardons for Preservatives’ style campaign. (Slogan suggestions welcome).

  • Lithium Compounds

A short term win (it mostly just bought a little extra time). The new ATP does not feature lithium carbonate, lithium chloride or lithium hydroxide (which I’m just going to refer to as ‘lithium compounds’.

If you haven’t been following this one, ECHA is looking to add a Repro 1A classification to these lithium compounds. And if you think it won’t affect you, please note that 70% of greases are based on lithium compounds, and it would have serious consequences for the green tech industry and lithium batteries which are in consumer goods.

The absence in the ATP is because the arguments behind the scene (Caracal) are ongoing. I make this Year 7 for the squabble. But cross your fingers that this one stays a nice protracted argument, because I think ultimately industry are going to lose this fight so the longer it lasts the better.

  • ATP publication dates

Finally, I’ve seen a few comments that this was quite quick – considering it isn’t long since the publication of the 17th, 18th , 19th and 20th ATPs. And I think you should hang onto your hats folks!

The upcoming (and infamous) CLP Legislative Act*, includes this lovely little nugget…

“The Commission shall adopt without undue delay, and preferably before the end of the calendar year following the publication of the opinion of the Committee for Risk Assessment, delegated acts in accordance with Article 53a”

In other words… they’re giving themselves new deadlines for ATPs. Meaning RAC opinions will now make it onto Annex VI before the end of the following year.

The items on this ATP only cover RAC opinions up to and including November 2021. Which means that all the 2022 opinions have yet to be published and should have been completed by the end of 2023. Expect another rapid ATP to get them back on track!

Honestly, did no one check the current publishing stats before they wrote that target. Seems like a bit of an own goal.

EU CLH Proposals

We have 4 harmonised classification and labelling proposals for the EU:

In an interesting turn of events we’ve also had 4 proposals withdrawn. This is quite unusual. Each substance had been originally submitted by Sweden, and the reason given for withdrawal is stated as ‘Change of priorities’ for the first 3, and ‘Pending additional testing’ for the last one.

  • Silver copper zeolite (CAS 130328-19-7)
  • Silver zeolite (CAS 130328-18-6)
  • Silver sodium zirconium hydrogenphosphate (CAS 155925-27-2)
  • Thiourea, thiocarbamide (CAS 62-56-6)

WTO notification shows more EU/UK divergence in the pipeline

In the last week of January, Nicola Kaye of REACHLaw – Your Partner In Chemical Regulatory Compliance and Sustainability spotted that the EU have just submitted another CLP update to the WTO. The submission document is here: https://docs.wto.org/dol2fe/Pages/SS/directdoc.aspx?filename=q:/G/TBTN24/EU1042.pdf&Open=True and the two supporting documents are here: https://members.wto.org/crnattachments/2024/TBT/EEC/24_00555_00_e.pdf and here: https://members.wto.org/crnattachments/2024/TBT/EEC/24_00555_01_e.pdf

ECHA’s new data website

The ECHA Chem website is now live, some info on it here: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/european-chemicals-agency_echa-chem-goes-live-activity-7158005726072717313-AeJq, and the website itself is here: https://chem.echa.europa.eu/

Note that, as it only contains REACH dossier information, we will need to check this website and also the main European Chemicals Agency website at https://echa.europa.eu/ to ensure we are getting the full range of EU chemical information.

There is more information on the transition here: https://echa.europa.eu/echa-chem, and the current timelines are:

  • 30th Jan 2024 – launch with EU-REACH registration data (achieved)
  • May 2024 – REACH registration data aligned with EU format
  • Q3 2024 – revised Classification and Labelling Inventory (the one where the data is supposed to be cleansed of inaccurate classifications – if you don’t believe me, check out the C&L for water, CAS no )
  • Q4 2024 – first set of regulatory obligations and lists

Reading between the lines – they clearly haven’t firmed up the deadlines yet so there may be some slippage; and that “first set” of regulatory obligations and lists implies that there will be more sets to come, so we may very well be using the “old” ECHA searches well into 2025.

CLP Legislative Act – drafted, but no official publication yet

If you missed the last newsletter before Christmas you may be interested to see that there is a draft copy of the upcoming CLP Legislative Act: https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-16721-2023-INIT/en/pdf.

However, we strongly urge all readers to wait until the final version is published, as we cannot rule out last-minute changes, and the devil is definitely in the detail.

GB News

Correction to bring the 14th and 15th ATP to CLP into UK law

In one of those “I can’t quite believe what’s happened” moments, the Health and Safety Executive announced on the 11th January 2024 that the 14th and 15th ATPs were not retained in GB law when the UK left the EU, see https://www.hse.gov.uk/chemical-classification/update-gbmcl.htm.

There is some further explanation from the HSE here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/chemical-classification/assets/docs/cwbsd-aapm-0405.pdf.

The good news is that this situation is not as bad as it seems.

Firstly, and most importantly, the HSE have stated that this is mainly “business as usual”, and what they are doing is simply rectifying a legal oversight. This means that they advise that we should continue to use the hazard classifications extant within the official excel version of the Mandatory Classification list, which you can download from their website here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/chemical-classification/classification/harmonised-classification-self-classification.htm .

Secondly, the HSE have also announced that, as part of this process, two hazard classifications are under review, namely:

  • Titanium Dioxide, in powder form, CAS no 13463-67-7, Index no 022-006-002, currently listed in the MCL as Carcinogen 2, H351i (with EUH211 or EUH212 applicable to certain mixtures)
  • Granulated copper, CAS no 7440-50-8, Index no 029-024-00-X, currently listed in the MCL as Aquatic Chronic 2, H411

This is up-to-date information, based on the MC List as downloaded on 18th January 2024, and the HSE recommend you use these published classifications in GB up until the time they are officially altered or removed, estimated to be April 2024.

Why the 14th and 15th ATP weren’t brought into UK law on Exit Day

I think that one of the reasons we were quite shocked by the news was that we didn’t understand how or why the ATPs hadn’t been brought across in the first place.

The answer turns out to be due to a close reading of the UK’s EU withdrawal act, and what the EU definition of a law that is legally in effect means.

The 2018 EU WIthdrawal Act, article 3, point 3 (a) (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2018/16/section/3) states:

3 For the purposes of this Act, any direct EU legislation is operative immediately before IP completion day if—

(a)in the case of anything which comes into force at a particular time and is stated to apply from a later time, it is in force and applies immediately before IP completion day,

The question then becomes whether the 14th and 15th ATP were “in force” and “applied” on IP completion day, the 31st December 2020.

Moving across to EUR-lex and the 14th ATP itself, we find the following statement:

Article 3 Entry into force and application This Regulation shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. It shall apply from 9 September 2021. However, Article 2 shall apply from 1 December 2019

What this means is that only Article 2 of the 14th ATP to CLP was part of EU law on Exit Day.

Nerd note: This a correction to the Harmonised Classification of Index no ‘648-055-00-5, pitch, coal tar, high-temp.; [The residue from the distillation of high temperature coal tar. A black solid with an approximate softening point from 30 °C to 180 °C (86 °F to 356 °F). Composed primarily of a complex mixture of three or more membered condensed ring aromatic hydrocarbons.], EC no 266-028-2, CAS no 65996-93-2. The updated Harmonised Classification is Carc 1A, H350; Muta 1B, H340; Repr. 1B, H360FD. End of nerd note.

Everything else in the 14th ATP was not legally in effect on Exit Day, according to the terms of the UK Withdrawal Act.

A similar situation applies to the 15th ATP, where it states: “Article 2 Entry into force and application This Regulation shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. It shall apply from 1 March 2022

So we’re talking about a very subtle interpretation of EU law, and then its implications for UK law, so it’s hardly surprising that this slipped through the cracks.

I don’t know which eagle-eyed lawyer or regulatory person spotted this, but well done if you did!

Windsor Framework update

In an attempt to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland and break the current political deadlock, the current Sunak Government, whom I will not dignify with the name “Conservative”, has tinkered with the Windsor Framework, itself an update on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The details of the deal they have done with the Unionist Party are here (a mere 80 pages in case you are suffering with insomnia): https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/65ba3b7bee7d490013984a59/Command_Paper__1_.pdf.

The BBC has some information on how this is supposed to work (although we need to wait and see what is eventually published): https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-68157167

We’ll also need to wait to see how this affects chemicals. Although we are still waiting for some guidance on chemicals under the Windsor Framework in the first place!

Could UK-REACH work on the Swiss Model?

Neil Hollis of BASF writes: did you see that CHEM Trust have published an interesting report on Swiss regulations and how this could be a template for the UK? Is the Swiss system for regulating chemicals a useful model for the UK? (chemtrust.org)

Many thanks to Neil, I haven’t had a chance to review this yet, but it looks interesting.

Around the World

Switzerland and chrome plating authorisations

Speaking of Switzerland’s approach to REACH, Ali recently came across an interesting way in which Switzerland cope with Authorisations for Chrome plating, which currently takes up such a lot of ECHA’s time in the EU that they are removing the Authorisation and putting it into a Restriction instead, see https://echa.europa.eu/calls-for-comments-and-evidence/-/substance-rev/75309/term (this consultation ends on 13/02/2024, and its proposals are likely to go ahead).

Switzerland adopt the EU REACH authorisations into Annex 1.17 of their ORRChem Ordinance (Chemical Risk Reduction Ordinance) – Translation available here: https://www.fedlex.admin.ch/eli/cc/2005/478/en.

Instead of going to all the lengths of moving chrome plating into a restriction, the clever Swiss authorities have simply added an extra column, “Exempted Categories of Uses”, and next to the Chrome Authorisation they have stated “Uses in processes in which the end products do not contain chromium in hexavalent form”, neatly sidestepping the entire issue (and they did this 10 years before ECHA realised that the situation was so time-consuming that something needed to change).

Ali notes that the ORRChem isn’t perfect. It’s often about 18 months/2 years behind the actual REACH equivalent. But we definitely agree with the Swiss authorities in this instance.

California Prop 65 update

BPS has just been added to Prop 65: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/tomjonaitis_bisphenol-s-bps-added-to-proposition-65-activity-7146931422216265728-el7c

Turkey KKDIK delayed deadlines confirmed

The much-anticipated extensions to the Turkey REACH (KKDIK) registration deadlines have been officially published, see:

Process safety corner

Recent incidents:

The HSE have just published advice on vapour recovery overfill https://www.hse.gov.uk/safetybulletins/vapour-recovery-overfill.htm

Interesting news – Trevor Kletz’s articles from the 1980s are still being cited as relevant to understanding incidents: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7146202862962831360. Does this reflect his expertise and insights, or does it just mean that industry hasn’t learnt much about incident prevention in the last few decades?

And an unfortunate example of this phenomenon from Eur Ing Keith Plumb, what he describes as an “unknown known”: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/eur-ing-keith-plumb-b482797_a-classic-unknown-known-the-us-chemical-activity-7150805008416980993-r2Cf/

Infographic of the month

As we start the New Year, a lot of people are very busy, so I thought you might like this excellent time management infographic on a number of techniques which might help: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/victoria-repa-115a1987_how-to-get-everything-done-before-the-deadline-activity-7158436285362126849-SPhl/.

One thing I would add, is that time management isn’t just a single method, it’s often a variety of tools/ skills/ behaviours which works for you at that moment, and which may need to change as you get busier.

The weekend read

Where do “Eureka moments” come from? a fascinating article from James Pomeroy on an important topic https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/when-do-unexpected-insights-come-from-james-pomeroy-naqwe

The weekend recipe

Our recent recipes have mainly been about using up leftovers from Christmas.

I even found an unused jar of mincemeat in my Mother’s kitchen when I was clearing it out, with a use-by date of June 2024, so brought it home in triumph. In keeping with using up leftovers, I defrosted some marzipan, and made a sweet almond pastry, which I used to make an apple and mincemeat pastry slice (we had some leftover dessert apples as well).

Marzipan shortcrust pastry

  • 1 and 1/2 oz butter
  • 1 and 1/2 oz lard
  • 6 oz plain flour
  • 6 oz home made marzipan
  • 1/2 a beaten egg (save the rest for glazing the pastry)

Method: rub the fats into the flour as usual, then break up the marzipan into clumps and rub until it’s reasonably broken up. Add about 1/2 a beaten egg and bring the mixture together – it will be quite sticky, so use plenty of flour to roll it out.

Apple and mincemeat pastry slice

Line a square tin with 2/3rd of the pastry, so you have a wall of pastry (not just the base). Fill this with a layer of mincemeat, and top with a layer of finely chopped dessert apples (I used 4 apples). Put some small knobs of butter over the apples, and strew with some brown sugar. Then top with the remaining 1/3rd of pastry. Brush over the remaining beaten egg to make a nice glaze, and cut some slashes in the top to let the moisture escape.

Bake at Gas mark 6 in a pre-heated oven for around 40 – 45 minutes (until nicely browned)- check after 30 minutes in case your oven is “quicker” than mine.

Findings – this worked really well, and it’s a great way of using up leftover marzipan and mincemeat from Christmas. It does take a bit longer to cook than a traditional fruit or mincemeat slice, because it’s filled more deeply.

Reasons to be Cheerful

Our Reasons to be Cheerful funny videos have mainly been The Two Ronnies:

To start the New Year, a Fast Show sketch, Sod This:

Two Ronnies – Sweet Shop:

The Two Ronnies: The Confusing Library:


Many thanks for reading this LinkedIn newsletter, and many thanks to everyone who has contributed. If you have anything you’d like to share, please email me or send a DM, 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... (which includes access to the email archive).

Look forward to chatting to you in late February or early March.

Kind regards,


Janet Greenwood, TT Environmental Ltd

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