Coronavirus chemicals update, 3rd September 2021

Dear Friend,

Happy Friday!

It’s day 529 of Semi-lockdown, and it’s another dull morning with light rain spots in the air, probably a harbinger of the weekend weather (gosh, I sound almost as pessimistic as our farming neighbour).

First GB-REACH consultations on proposed Authorisations

There are two new possible Authorised chemicals for GB-REACH: dicyclohexyl phthalate and disodium octaborate, thanks to Phil Rowley for highlighting this on LinkedIn.

HSE newsletter – , consultation open until 30th November, so if you are interested in either of these chemicals, now’s your chance to take your views to the HSE (I know at least one newsletter reader is interested in Boron compounds).

Interestingly, both these substances were out for public consultation from ECHA on Authorisation recently, you can check their status here: . It does look like the HSE is trying to keep up with the EU, and it will be interesting if the Authorisation of either chemical ends up being significantly different in GB.

SCHC online meeting open to CHCS members

It’s the SCHC Annual Meeting on Monday, November 01, 2021 8:00 AM tFriday, November 05, 2021 12:00 AM EDT, see

  • Early Bird Discount is available until 8th October: CHCS Members: $275 (Non-members: $350)
  • After 8th October: CHCS Members: $325 (Non-members: $400)

Many thanks to Ernie Robb, of Lesker, one of our USA readers, who writes: In case anyone’s interested in attending. I am a member of both organizations and attended last year. The virtual meeting worked very well . Supposedly next fall will be back to live, however I’m hanging up my spikes in May ’22 so I won’t attend.

I was intrigued by the phrase “hanging up my spikes”, which Ernie explains is an American Football term!

Logistics problems poll

If you are having problems with the availability or delivery of chemicals in the UK or EU, please do participate in the CBA’s quick poll about this… . CBA are taking the lead in lobbying the UK Government about this vitally important issue.

EU Poison Centre Notification update in the pipeline

News from Heidi Rasikari of ECHA…, in their Poison Centre Notification group on LinkedIn (you can join here, that the draft version of PCN version 4 has been published… .

Heidi adds that there will be a presentation on how the IT systems will change at or after ECHA’s Safer Chemicals Conference on 6th October:… .

Although I’m slightly concerned that on the page about the conference, ECHA say “Europe is leading the way towards a safer, more sustainable and toxic-free environment.” – how can you have a toxic-free environment when such a thing doesn’t even exist in nature? As Mike said, when we were discussing this at breakfast this morning, “are they working on a non-toxic version of Deadly Nightshade?”

The Weekend Read

We had so many thoughtful responses to the chemical and technological illiteracy articles last week that I’ve collated them, thanks so much to everyone who responded: Readers comments on chemical illiteracy August 2021.pdf . There are some great ideas in there, including responses we can use when arguing with people who don’t understand how chemistry works.

The Weekend Recipe

Rummaging through one of my favourite recipe books, Prue Coats’ Poachers’ Cookbook, I came across a variation on her recipe for Bilberry Cranachan, which I invented in 2016 to use up some bilberry jam which had failed on the first boiling, and was essentially bilberries in a sugar syrup (don’t worry, I reboiled the rest of the batch with some redcurrants, which are loaded with pectin, and it turned out fine).


  • bilberries in syrup – bilberries boiled up with at least 1/4 of their weight in sugar, no water required (because bilberries are very juicy) – you may want to add more sugar depending on how ripe the bilberries (the original recipe says 4oz berries or thereabouts)
  • greek yoghurt (1 part), eg 1/8 pint (this is one of the changes I made, the original is 1/4 pint)
  • whipped double cream (4 parts), eg 1/2 pint
  • a couple of oatcakes, lightly toasted in the toaster (watch them like a hawk, they burn very easily), then crumbled (another variation, the original is 6 oatcakes)

Method: whip your double cream and stir in the yoghurt, you may want to whip again after the yoghurt has been put in. Stir in the bilberries in syrup to taste (the original recipe had 4 oz of berries or so to 1/2 pint of cream), make sure the mixture doesn’t become runny. Check the sugar levels are ok, add a teensy bit more if needed. At this point you can keep the cranachan in the fridge for a couple of hours, if you like. Before serving, either sprinkle the oatcakes over the top, or stir in. Serve in individual glasses.

Optional – a teaspoon of booze, the original recipe says a tablespoon of whisky or drambuie, but you could also use gin; or even bilberries left over from making bilberry gin (if you do that, add sugar direct to the cream/ greek yoghurt mixture, don’t bother making the syrup); but watch out, don’t make the mixture too runny, it needs to be a nice creamy texture.

Top tip – if you keep some whipped cream back when you add the other ingredients, you can add the reserved cream back in if the mixture does get too “wet”.

Cheat’s version – you can sometimes buy bottled Polish bilberries in syrup, these should work well in this recipe if you can’t pick your own (and it’s been a terrible year for ours, although I blame the sheep for grazing our usual source). Bilberry jam would also work, if you can get hold of it.

Variations – this also works with berries of all sorts, although you don’t necessarily need to make a syrup first with softer fruits like raspberries (the traditional cranachan fruit). But I wouldn’t make this with blueberries, they don’t have anywhere near the depth of flavour of a true bilberry.

Reasons to be cheerful

Our last clips for the week from Les Dawson, which are still not politically correct, are a Royal Variety show appearance:

; and a compilation programme of his sketches, as voted for by the public at the time, the Best of Sez Les: 

And if you think the world is going to hell in a handcart at the moment, you may find this piece on St Augustine comforting: . The world has been in a mess before, and there are ways to sort it out.

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

TT Environmental Ltd