It’s Semi-lockdown day 718, and I’m still keeping track of the Coronavirus Crisis, because even though some of the restrictions have been lifted, many are still in place on the quiet.
For example, travel rules have been relaxed if you are up to date with your vaccinations; and care homes, doctors surgeries and similar health bodies are still able to insist that masks are worn. Until we get back to genuine “business as usual” in all areas of life, I will keep the coronavirus timer ticking.
The Coronavirus Crisis Continues
This fact was brought home to me the other week when we learned that one of our neighbours lost her father. He had been very ill for some time, and in hospital for months, when he was discharged to a care home (against the family wishes, who would have preferred him at home but there is apparently a carer shortage in East Yorkshire).
The care home rules were that only one nominated visitor was allowed (because there was a single Covid case in the home). The family chose his wife as “designated visitor”, even though one of her sons had to drive her to the home. Our neighbour was banned from visiting, although she explained that she has recently recovered from Coronavirus and posed very little risk of transmitting or getting the virus (and she’s a vet, so technically a healthcare professional herself). (Of course, not all care homes are like this, some allow free visiting for patients who are very ill or dying).
On the day he died, his wife saw that he was looking very bad, and asked if her son could come in to see his father, but this was denied. My neighbours mother and brother were later called back to the care home because “the paramedics are working on him”, but he died 5 minutes before they arrived.
My poor neighbour is completely traumatised by these events, much more so than simply losing her father.
If you have gone through this situation, you have my utmost sympathy, and it is possible you may suffer from PTSD as a result, as I have warned our neighbour to be aware of. She is also very angry, as she has every right to be.
If you are going through this type of situation with a parent or other relative in a care home or hospital, you might want to kick up the most almighty fuss and ensure you can see them. In my experience, you will not regret time spent with your relatives before you lose them.
Some good news on Gamma ButyroLactone and Butanediol, which have been brought into the scope of the Misuse of Drugs Act as drug precursors.
Like much of the UK chemical industry, we found out about just before the original deadline (see https://www.ghsclassificationcourses.com/coronavirus-chemicals-update-11th-february-2022/ and https://www.ghsclassificationcourses.com/newsflash-bdo-gbl-application-deadline-today-advice-on-the-process/, both open-access).
The Chemical Business Association has successfully lobbied the Government to amend the deadlines for compliance with the new rules, which affect many more chemical businesses than was originally estimated by the Home Office, see https://www.chemical.org.uk/about-us/cba-news/the-chemical-business-association-achieves-agreement-to-amend-regulations-on-gbl-and-bdo/.
The Home Office sent a letter (many thanks to several readers who sent a copy through for circulation).
Well done to to all at CBA, CIA and the other chemical industry bodies involved in getting this sorted out.
(All we need now is some formal clarification on the Annex VIII to CLP situation, although I suppose we should be careful what we wish for!).
EU Poison Centre update
Heidi Rasikari writes on LinkedIn that Liechtenstein is now accepting PCN submissions via the Portal https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6906865531618516992 . I don’t think the summary document about Portal status has been updated yet.
Keeping an Eye on ECHA
Another batch of proposed Harmonised Classifications have been announced by ECHA (and publicised in the HSE CLP newsletter – as usual, the HSE would like any UK companies with evidence or opinions to take them to ECHA, not just wait until they are discussed here in the UK).
The CLH proposals went out on 28th February, and comprise
- Group of 16 substituted cyclohex-3-ene-1-carbaldehydes (numerous CAS and EC numbers). Chemicals registered under REACH
- biphenyl-2-ol (EC: 201-993-5; CAS 90-43-7). Pesticide active substance
- tert-butyl 2-ethylperoxyhexanoate (EC: 221-110-7; CAS 3006-82-4). Chemical registered under REACH
You can find the proposals here: https://echa.europa.eu/harmonised-classification-and-labelling-consultation . As usual with these types of consultations, there are around 8 weeks to get your arguments in to ECHA.
PFAS lawsuit in the USA
Many people in the chemical industry will be aware that PFAs, PFOS, PFOAs (Per- and poly- fluoroalkyls, perfluorooctane sulphonate, and perfluorooctanoic acid) were discovered in the early 2000s to be present in food chains in wild areas (I believe they were found in polar bears originally, by the University of Michigan doing a project for 3M), and this has highlighted the fact that they are don’t degrade and that they can build up in the food web, with unknown consequences for animal and human life.
Based on this evidence, some manufacturers have stopped using these substances, and regulators have moved to prevent their use, for example restricting their uses https://echa.europa.eu/hot-topics/perfluoroalkyl-chemicals-pfas .
There is now a class-action lawsuit underway in the USA against 4 cosmetics companies, L’Oreal, Shiseido, CoverGirl, and Burt’s Bees, even though the PFAs found in their products may be present unintentionally, see https://www.linkedin.com/posts/cathyrudisill_cosmetics-and-pfas-lawsuit-alleges-false-activity-6907415191911309313-5nUo.
Ukraine crisis – if you would like to help
It is difficult to know how to help people on the ground in the Ukraine.
The first and last time I gave money to the Disasters Emergency Committee was after the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, but it turned out they sat on the money for over a year and everyone’s donations didn’t get to the people who really needed help.
So I tend to give donations to people who are either more connected to a situation, or who are responding to it (like the Salvation Army, who helped out immensely during the Calder Valley Boxing Day floods in 2015).
Former neighbours of ours are the children of Ukrainian refugees (either fleeing the Holodomor or after the Second World War), still in touch with their relatives in the Ukraine, and active in the local British-Ukrainian organisation, so I asked their eldest son (married to a Ukrainian girl) for advice on how we can help directly. This is what he said:
In terms of physical donations, our centres have been overwhelmed, and we’ve currently asked people not to bring things for the time being, this may change over time.
A lot of places collecting physical donations are sending them to the Polish-Ukrainian border, many organisations don’t have the logistics in place to get things in place to get aid into Ukraine to those who need it most.
The funds can also focus on what is needed, particularly medical requirements.
We (The Association of Ukrainians, Manchester branch) have created a fund for financial donations http://www.augb-manchester.org.uk/manchester-aid.html The fund if focussed on front line support.
There are a couple of other good funds, with logistics in place to get things into Ukraine British Ukrainian Aid Sort Code 20-27-49: Account Number: 90861715 www.justgiving.com/campaign/Ukraine-aid-help-now Association of Ukrainian in GB Sort Code 20-65-89: Account Number: 80038237 www.gofundme.com/helpukraine-emergency-appeal
Jobs update (UK stats from LinkedIn)
Regulatory affairs jobs: 2,684; Health and Safety jobs 70,828 . This is another slight reduction for Regulatory Affairs, and quite a large reduction in Health and Safety.
Process Safety Corner
A review of incidents at Westlake Chemicals https://www.linkedin.com/posts/declan-barry-78913110_two-explosions-follow-decades-of-fires-toxic-activity-6906985445012717568-yhhj
And an accident finding where hot exhausts were involved: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6907405362920882176
An ESPC note on reactive chemical hazards during storage (just because you may not react chemicals deliberately on your site doesn’t mean chemical reactions can’t happen): https://www.linkedin.com/posts/ugcPost-6906621803561910272-bK9E
A Sketchnote by Teresa Waddington on the ways we try to prevent incidents: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/teresa-waddington-26757844_how-do-we-prevent-incidents-it-helps-to-activity-6907363045920665600-X39U
And, not in the chemicals sphere, a post on “airmanship” and how experience still counts when dealing with potentially hazardous situations: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/gill-kernick_captain-moodys-wisdom-the-aeroplane-might-activity-6906511693711835136-zxAg
The Weekend Read
As we’re all involved in health and safety one way or another in the chemical and chemicals-using industries, I thought you might like an interesting discussion on LinkedIn about the differences between Occupational Health and Safety and Process Safety, https://www.linkedin.com/posts/rossbenton_the-difference-between-occupational-hse-and-activity-6906446831950155776-CBed with further comments from Chris Brookes-Mann (HSE Specialist Inspector) https://www.linkedin.com/posts/chrisbrookesmann_riskmanagement-processsafety-occupationalhealthandsafety-activity-6907276059591725056-VNT7 .
There are definitely differences between the two types of safety, but I’m not sure if we’ve got a really good definition/ distinction yet – let me know if you have any ideas on this.
The Weekend Recipe
Continuing our Lenten vegetarian recipes, here is my famous chickpea curry recipe, which Mike and I ate a lot of when we were paying off our mortgage. (Rather ironic, as the original recipe was from my ex-husband, but I’ve made some improvements).
Chickpea curry :
Serves 2 as a main meal, or increase ingredients pro rata (except the curry powder)
- 1 400g tin chick peas (or 400g cooked chickpeas made from dried ones, cheaper)
- 1 400g tin tomatoes (I use chopped as it’s easier, although slightly more expensive)
- 1 small or half a medium onion (white or red)
- ginger – about a thumb sized piece, chopped
- a clove or two of garlic, chopped (optional if you don’t like garlic)
- 1/2 tablespoon medium curry powder (Tesco, Schwartz etc) (you can add more after tasting)
- Small amount of sunflower or vegetable oil
- Salt to taste
Fry the chopped onion in about a tablespoon of oil until cooked. Briefly fry off the ginger and garlic, take care not to let the garlic burn. Add the curry powder and stir round to fry for a short while, then add the drained chick peas and stir well to coat them in the curry powder (you can keep the chickpea water or “aqua faba” to use as an egg replacement in vegan recipes – it really does work!).
Then add the tin of tomatoes. Bring everything to the boil, and check the flavour – add salt to taste, and if there’s not enough curry flavour for you, try a few drops of tabasco to really spice it up. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Technically, the curry is now finished (if you’re in a hurry), or if you cook it for another quarter of an hour or so, the flavours will develop a bit more. This freezes well.
You can eat this on toast instead of beans (especially useful if you like Heinz beans, but they don’t like you), with naan or rice, and if you’re a carnivore you can serve it with sausages, or a meaty curry.
Reasons to be cheerful
Another double helping of classic British comedy this week, a couple of (Old) Top Gear parodies from John Culshaw and colleagues (I’m not sure if this is Dead Ringers or the Impressions Show – I’m sure some lovely reader will let me know). First up, a challenge about wasting money which doesn’t involve cars at all:
; and “last of the summer Petrol”
.Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to the newsletter 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 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
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