It’s a beautiful sunny morning, but slightly chilly. A lot of the birds are hatching, we have curlew and lapwing adults getting protective when the occasional avian predator appears, and snipe “chipping” in alarm. One of our friends has reported seeing the first grouse chicks as well. At least the weather has been wet enough to get some insects hatched for the chicks to feed on.
The cuckoo is still calling down in the valley, which reminded me of another cuckoo song, this time “The cuckoo is a pretty bird” : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=614L6q88pAM
While the natural world rolls on inexorably, we have plenty to keep us occupied with regulatory work.
NRES – the debate continues
Following on from Mark Selby’s comments in the 5th May newsletter and Mick Goodwin’s response in the 19th May one last week, there has been a further exchange of views via email, and it has become apparent that there is pragmatism to allow industry to keep working while consultation into the future shape of GB REACH continues.
The key piece of advice at the moment is that if you are making or have made an NRES, do not commit to any registration data purchase unless it is unavoidable.
The NRES situation will be discussed at the next meeting of the Chemical Regulations Self Help Group on 6th June, and I will report back in a subsequent newsletter. (Self Help Group details here: https://www.chemselfhelp.co.uk/ ).
Pressure on UK Government to rethink UK-REACH
It seems that there is growing concern over the estimated £2 billion cost of reregistering all 22000-ish chemical substances within UK-REACH, as per this article in the Financial Times – UK failure to create post-Brexit chemical regulations risks ‘irreparable damage’ _ Financial Times.pdf
Thanks to Aaron McLoughlin of Fleishman Hillard for highlighting this on LinkedIn.
Can you help?
Can you help the HSE? they are looking for experts for their RISEP panel, which provides independent scientific advice and scrutiny around chemicals and their regulations, see https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKHSE/bulletins/35c429e .
“Experts are required from the following scientific fields:
- Environmental risk assessment;
- Human health toxicology;
- Human health exposure and control;
- Chemistry/regulatory science;
- Economics/impact assessment.”
Expenses of £400 per day, plus reasonable travel expenses are payable. Full details here: https://careers.hse.gov.uk/job/reach-independent-scientific-expert-pool-risep-2/ .
These positions might be suitable for anyone who is recently retired or working part-time, as nearly everyone I speak to in industry at the moment seems to be even busier than usual. The deadline for applications is 21st June.
ChemUK 2023 presentations
Most of these presentations (subject to agreement of the speaker) will be available online to everyone who registered to attend ChemUK 2023, whether you actually made it to the show or not. We will let you know when these are brought out, as there are a couple of really interesting ones which will interest many newsletter readers (and we’ll see if we can include them in a later edition).
ChemUK 2024 is now being prepared, so if you’re thinking of exhibiting you can find out more here: https://www.chemicalukexpo.com/ .
Hearing from the HSE
Some news on GB Biocides:
- Hydrochloric acid (CAS 7647-01-0 EC 231-595-7) in product type 2 has been supported for renewal
- Pyrithione zinc (Zinc pyrithione) (CAS 13463-41-7 EC 236-671-3) in product type 2 has not been supported and is withdrawn in GB
If you want to keep up to date with GB Biocides, including the GB active substances list, the GB Article 95 list, and lists where products need supporting, this page has links to everything you should need: https://www.hse.gov.uk/biocides/open-invitations-notifications.htm .
Keeping an Eye on ECHA and the EC
Some (previously postponed) IUCLID6 updates have just been made, see https://echa.europa.eu/-/iuclid-updated-with-new-reach-information-requirements . They are described as “the first major format change since October 2021”. Support for these changes includes:
- An ECHA webinar on these changes on the 8th of June https://echa.europa.eu/-/iuclid-6-2023-format-changes-release
- updates to both the REACH and CLP manuals, see https://echa.europa.eu/guidance-documents/guidance-on-reach and https://echa.europa.eu/guidance-documents/guidance-on-clp (note that only Poison Centre Notification is affected for CLP)
- CHESAR is due to be updated, date to be confirmed
ECHA is also running a 2-day webinar on the 31st May and 1st June on alternatives to animal testing: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/european-chemicals-agency_alternativestoanimaltesting-saferchemicals-activity-7064193507833319425-rbRs . They have also published data to
ECHA have also published data to help with the development of NAMS – Non Animal test Methods: https://echa.europa.eu/-/efpia-and-echa-publish-more-data-to-help-developing-alternative-methods-to-animal-tests
A new General Product Safety Regulation is being brought into the EU, see https://www.linkedin.com/posts/rod-freeman_a-significant-day-for-product-safety-regulation-activity-7066700650507628545-a08N
There’s an amendment coming in to the EU Detergents regulation, many thanks to Britt Skinner-Smith for highlighting this on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/posts/brittsmithul_eu-releases-draft-amendment-to-2004-detergent-activity-7066331919331778560-hj0x
- Possible antidote to a mushroom toxin found: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/may/17/potential-antidote-found-for-toxin-in-worlds-most-poisonous-mushroom
- Updated version of the OECD QSAR toolbox released on 16th May 2023: https://www.oecd.org/chemicalsafety/risk-assessment/oecd-qsar-toolbox.htm
- Comments by Dave Shoenecker on California and New York in the USA considering banning Titanium Dioxide in foods: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/dave-schoneker-0938133_quick-summary-of-proposed-legislation-by-ugcPost-7067239266690445312-25e_
- An excellent article on how Titanium Dioxide works in sunscreens from the TDMA (many thanks to Alison Hill of Lomon Billions for sharing this via LinkedIn): https://www.tdma.info/uses-of-titanium-dioxide/how-your-uv-protective-sunscreen-works/
- Eco-protesters dump black dye in the Trevi fountain (hopefully not made by any of our lovely readers!): https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2023/05/22/watch-eco-loons-dump-black-dye-in-romes-famed-trevi-fountain-over-italian-floods/
- GHS in Brazil is going to be updated: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/tatianamonero_ghs-in-brazil-upcoming-changes-activity-7067487862035800064-xkZT and https://www.linkedin.com/posts/michaelscottwenkga_brazil-chemicals-activity-7066826901884973056-TfsS
- Ireland is to label alcoholic drinks with hazard information – apparently this annoys France! https://www.linkedin.com/posts/aaron-mcloughlin-1a86281_ireland-to-label-alcoholic-drinks-with-detailed-activity-7066650252186984449-9BtP
Mini training course in statistics
Lyle Burgoon has posted a series of videos on youtube on “Bayesian Statistics for Toxicologists” – the first one is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcOxINZfX6M&list=PLsq7Rq09qsPsIXuZeV1nJ3m5ad9XukkNJ&index=1
Jobs (UK, LinkedIn figures)
Regulatory affairs 2,278; Health and Safety 3,283 (yes , the algorithms have changed massively in LinkedIn this week! so I think it’s only showing me jobs relevant to my interests – doing your own search may give different results).
I came across a heart-breaking post on LinkedIn this morning from a lady who had decided to go freelance as an event and business manager, then moved house and (reading between the lines) lost her regular job network. She was asking for advice to get back into work, so I wrote: “Sign on with one good-quality temp agency who have jobs in your geographical area and openings you can fulfil – you have very transferrable skills (don’t sign on with more than one agency, otherwise you will find yourself getting offers from both). Make friends with the person who will be issuing the jobs (usually on a Thursday, so ring them on Wednesday to keep you top of their mind). Keep up with your other work applications while you’re temping, and remember if you’re any good you may be offered a job anyway. Temp work increases in a recession, so it’s not a bad way of life to ride out a storm. And the very best of luck to you“.
And yes, this is voice of experience – as you can see from my LinkedIn profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/janet-greenwood/ , I have a couple of spells (2 years each) of temping while trying to find my first proper science job, and then before I set up TT Environmental. There’s no shame in taking a job you’re “over-qualified” for, if your circumstances dictate.
Occupational Safety corner
Many thanks to Chris Hughes of Ricardo/NCEC for highlighting this fascinating article on how a lower LTEL for toluene may be required, carried out by a Working Group from the Lower Olefins and Aromatics (LOA) REACH Consortium, that is by industry. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273230023000557 .
There is a companion paper on the short term exposure limit of toluene as well, https://www.linkedin.com/posts/lsegal_application-of-physiologically-based-pharmacokinetic-activity-7047959809253326848-o34C
This is industry taking action, progress isn’t just made by regulators (although it may be a defensive action to ensure that there is sufficient knowledge about toluene to help keep it in the EU marketplace).
A very interesting video on splash contamination from sinks for biological material, but equally applying to chemical contamination: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjrrLuTvF1Y
We had a similar “magic tape” in our lab in Rhone-Poulenc showing where the lab was and where the office was – happy memories!
Infographic of the week
A summary of chemotherapy classes: Cancer chemotherapy infographic.pdf
(Although comments on LinkedIn indicate that it doesn’t include every chemotherapy, see https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7057795788139061248 )
The Weekend Watch
This video, telling a true wartime story, is doing the rounds on social media: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/tobiastemmen_soundon-ugcPost-7058750841079357440-1Mwy
The “human factors” aspect of this is fascinating – it’s not just the decision of the German pilot to escort a USAF plane to safe airspace, based on his sense of common humanity and Christian faith; it’s also the decision of the artillery groundcrew(s) to not shoot down their comrade at the same time as an enemy aircraft. Some of that may have been down to the fact that their orders didn’t cover that kind of situation, or maybe it did, and they over-rode them.
The Weekend Recipe
It’s tricky to know what to cook when the weather is changing from warm to cool and back again, so I got out a favourite recipe from Delia Smith, which is sausages in cider. Her original recipe (here: https://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/international/european/british/bangers-braised-in-cider ) is a bit complicated for everyday cooking, as it uses button onions (also known as pickling onions) or small shallots, which are a bit of a faff to peel, and it also involves frying apple slices as a decoration.
My version is a bit more suitable for “everyday”, although if we have company I may revert to Delia’s fancier original.
- 1lb good quality pork sausages
- 4 to 6 oz (one medium) chopped onion (or red onion – use what you have in the house)
- about 1/2lb streaky bacon, with the rind off (fatty if you can get it; smoked or unsmoked)
- a very small piece of lard, or bacon fat you have kept from frying bacon previously
- optional – a couple of cox’s orange pippin apples or similar (braeburn etc), peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- a bottle of cider – my preference is Henry Weston’s vintage cider
- a bay leaf
- a clove of garlic
- thyme, a rounded teaspoon of fresh (if you have it), or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- to thicken the sauce, either 1 tablespoon of plain flour, or some slaked cornflour
Set your oven to Gas Mark 2. Take a small piece of lard (or reserved bacon fat) and fry the bacon slowly over a low heat to release the fat. You may need to turn the heat up once most of the fat is released to brown the bacon. Remove from the pan and cut into small pieces, and place in an oven-proof dish or casserole with the bay leaf, the thyme and the garlic (crush this, or leave whole). In the bacon fat, fry off the sausages at a medium temperature to brown them, but not cook fully, and lift them out into the oven proof dish. Now fry the onions off in the residual bacon fat until brown, and, if you’re adding apple, put it in to cook through slightly once the onions have cooked. You can either thicken the sauce at this point by sprinkling a tablespoon of plain flour over the onions and stirring well before you add the cider; or thicken it at the end using a little slaked cornflour. Next, add in about 1/2 pint of the cider and bring to the boil. The bacon in the dish means you do not need salt, but you can add some black paper if you like. Pour the whole lot carefully into your dish If the cider doesn’t cover the sausages and onions, feel free to add some more! (Top tip – if your ovenproof dish is also suitable for the stove top, put it on the stove and bring the contents to the boil before putting in the oven). Cook the sausages in cider for about an hour (if you brought the contents to the boil) or an hour and a half. Then remove the casserole lid for the last half hour of cooking. Serve with potato mash, or rice.
Notes – The quality of the dish depends on both the sausages – use the best, meatiest ones you can get hold of – and the cider (and good quality dry cure bacon helps too). Do not skip any of the flavourings (bacon, herbs, garlic) as it won’t taste quite the same – these are all essential to the flavour. I don’t think it’s suitable for “veganising”, as I suspect vegan sausages wouldn’t stand up to the lengthy cooking (although feel free to experiment and let me know if it does work!). The recipe is intrinsically lactose free, and if you thicken the sauce at the end using slaked cornflour, it is also gluten free. This recipe freezes well, and if you plan to freeze it, I wouldn’t bother thickening the sauce before freezing, but you can always do that when you reheat it after it’s thawed out.
Reasons to be Cheerful
Following last week’s video on Potluck etiquette, I thought we’d have a series of “It’s a Southern Thing” videos, as a lot of what they cover is equally applicable to the UK. For example, what it’s like staying with one’s Granny: When You Spend the Night at Grandma’s House
And for any readers interested in classical music, I came across a very interesting analysis of Zadok the Priest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-x7ZrKh2Us ; and you might like to hear the full version during the Coronation Service https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm_PNbQebdA .
Quite amazing to think that this same piece of music has been sung by the same choir, at the same point in the same service for nearly 300 years, as it was composed for and originally used at George II’s coronation in 1727.
Many thanks for reading this newsletter, and many thanks to everyone who has contributed to it this week. As usual, 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.
I hope you have a good day today, and a lovely Bank Holiday (or normal) weekend with your family and friends . Take care, stay safe and I hope to be able to write to you next week.
TT Environmental Ltd