Coronavirus chemicals update, 23rd July 2021

Dear Friend,

Happy Friday! It’s day 487 of Semi-Lockdown, and a lovely cool start to the morning, although it’s due to warm up again later on.

I don’t know what it’s been like for people who don’t live on a hill top (as we are lucky enough to), but I went down into Halifax yesterday to do some shopping before visiting a friend, and it was 3 degrees warmer than at home, at 30oC, and quite humid. Even just walking from the air conditioned car to air conditioned shops was difficult, so I retreated back home and swapped the visit with a long phone call instead. (And I drive a Skoda Yeti, which has legendary air conditioning, see from 3:22 minutes onwards


Ethical question – when should you provide a customer with a copy of a Safety Data Sheet?

I had this question from a client this week who had asked a large UK distributor for an up to date copy of a Safety Data Sheet for a couple of products which had been purchased from them several years ago.

The distributor responded that their records showed no purchase within the last 12 months, so they refused the request: ” Unfortunately, as you have not purchased within the last 12 months, we are unable to provide this information. ”

Strictly speaking, this is within the legal requirements of both EU and GB REACH, Article 31, points 8 and 9:


8. A safety data sheet shall be provided free of charge on paper or electronically no later than the date on which the substance or mixture is first supplied.


9. Suppliers shall update the safety data sheet without delay on the following occasions:

(a) as soon as new information which may affect the risk management measures, or new information on hazards becomes available;
(b) once an authorisation has been granted or refused;
(c) once a restriction has been imposed.

The new, dated version of the information, identified as ‘Revision: (date)’, shall be provided free of charge on paper or electronically to all former recipients to whom they have supplied the substance or ►M3 mixture ◄ within the preceding 12 months. Any updates following registration shall include the registration number.

(Note – the M3 and C1 and arrows all refer to EU amendments to the original EU-REACH regulation – there are no GB amendments in this bit of text).

However this refusal to supply an SDS does seem a bit unreasonable, as good customer service would usually involve providing SDSs on request (in my experience as a Technical Service Chemist, although that was rather a long time ago). This would particularly apply to chemicals with a shelf life longer than 1 year, as SDSs do get lost (especially when they’re only issued on paper).

My client thought that provision should be made under Duty of Care.

An alternative scenario is where someone is wanting to dispose of very old products found at the back of a lab or warehouse, where there is only a label, and they need the SDS to confirm whether it is hazardous waste, and what type it is.

However, it is understandable that an overwhelmed Regulatory Affairs team may want to limit the number of SDS requests they deal with; or perhaps there has been a change to the components within a product which has given rise to a new classification, and the new SDS would not apply to old stock.

Some companies get round this problem by placing their SDSs on a website, sometimes publicly available, and sometimes behind an “email wall” so they know who is accessing their information.

Is a refusal to supply an SDS something which you have come across, either as the issuer or the person requesting the SDS, and how do you deal with it? It would be good to know, as this is something of a legal grey area.

The Weekend Read

A brief but thoughtful post from Nippin Anand on Safety Culture signs and posters (and some interesting comments as well):… . As he says, “Implicit in these posters is the assumption that workers are erratic, and their behaviour needs to be controlled. And so, I thought maybe we should try something different next time?”

The Weekend Recipe

It’s so warm that I thought an ice cream recipe would be appropriate. Nigella Lawson has a particularly interesting no-churn coffee ice cream recipe, based on double cream and condensed milk,…, and she recommends using a bit of alcohol to keep the texture soft (no churn ice cream can be quite dense, especially if you

However, I noticed in the comments that some people found this recipe too sweet. A quick investigation of the Carnation no-churn ice cream recipes (there are lots but all based on this basic recipe with flavourings added)… gave a lower ratio of condensed milk to double cream.

So it was time for another kitchen experiment! (I used smaller amounts than the ones I’ve given below, which are for a reasonable quantity of ice cream).


  • Double cream, 300ml (both)
  • Condensed milk, 100g (Carnation), or 175g (Nigella)
  • 2 tablespoons coffee powder (both – Nigella recommends espresso powder, but I just used Gold Blend as it’s all I had in the house)
  • 2 tablespoons espresso liqueur (both – I substituted Tia Maria)

Method (from Nigella)

Whisk all the ingredients together until soft peaks form, and you have a gorgeous, caffe-latte-coloured airy mixture, and then fill 2 x 500ml / 2 x 1-pint airtight containers, and freeze for 6 hours or overnight.

Top tips

  • whip the cream and condensed milk together first before adding flavourings
  • don’t try to dissolve the coffee powder in the alcohol, it will go into hard pieces – instead, dissolve it in the whipped cream first, then add the alcohol last
  • using an electric beater (my birthday present from Mike) is much easier than whipping by hand, and gives a much more aerated result


Both ice creams were very nice; I preferred the less sweet one, and Mike preferred the more sweet version, so it’s really down to personal preference. The texture was very good after a couple of hours in the freezer, slightly more solid after being frozen overnight. Nigella’s was slightly softer, reflecting a little bit more water (from the increased condensed milk).

I like the Carnation recipes because they give more possible flavourings, which is great for inspiration, although I’d be inclined to follow Nigella’s suggestion to add a little alcohol to keep the texture soft.

Reasons to be cheerful

Our last Cissie and Ada clips for the week are A Week at the Seaside:

, and At the Doctor’s Surgery:


And Phil Rowley says “Somebody’s come up with an archive version of Zoom!” I finally remember what Zoom meetings remind me of.pdf

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to the newsletter today and 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 on Monday.

Kind regards,


Janet Greenwood