Coronavirus chemicals update, 8th January 2021

Dear Friend,

Happy Friday! It’s Day 291of Lockdown / Semi lockdown, and there’s a lot of breaking news to bring you up to date with, as we expected would happen with Brexit. To add to the mix, there’s the added complexity of coronavirus as well.

Breaking news 1 – HSE have updated their guidance on protecting extremely vulnerable workers

If you or a relative or friend falls into the “extremely vulnerable” category, you should read this updated guidance here, which has been changed to adapt to the new circumstances:

Breaking news 2 – the UK’s mandatory classification list has been published

Alan Johnson of Venator writes: The GB Mandatory Classification List which replaces CLP Annex VI in GB is live on the HSE website. I was expecting it to be frozen as Annex VI on 1 Jan but in fact it is different. Titanium dioxide is now (already) legally classified in GB as Carc 2 H351. Another substance is MEKO is already legally classified as Carc 1B.

Not sure if they have just missed dates from column M here (Date of entry into legal effect of new/revised GB mandatory classification and labelling) but as it reads, these classifications should be followed as mandatory right now and will be a real issue for industry.

Interested to see what others have found from this mandatory classification excel, and any experience or comment on this from HSE.

If you are classifying a substance that appears in the GB MCL List, then you must use the mandatory classification and labelling that appears in the GB MCL List. Similarly, if you are classifying a mixture that contains a substance on the GB MCL list, you must use the mandatory classification in your calculations. The exception is where you have robust scientific data on the mixture itself which you can use to classify the mixture, rather than using information on the component substances.

Alan adds: Fingers crossed it is just missing the date for implementation from the excel, and they will add. Good for all users to review the excel and check their key substances, then complain if needs be!

Many thanks to Alan for spotting this discrepancy, it will be interesting to find out if the absence of an implementation date means that the MCL doesn’t apply yet, or whether it applies immediately. If anyone knows what is going on, please let me know!

Breaking news 3 – Confirmation of EU PCN Portal acceptance

ECHA have just published their updated document on PCN acceptance via the Portal, see

The table on page 4 is the important bit. There are two main changes:

  • Austria, Croatia, and Ireland have been added as accepting submissions (Hungary and Portugal were included in the previous November edition of this document)
  • the first column text has been changed from ‘Duty holders must continue to notify their mixtures according to national legislation until further notice (at the latest until 31.12.2020 for consumer and professional use mixtures)’ to ‘Duty holders must continue to notify their mixtures according to national systems until further notice.’

This confirms that if you are selling into any of the 15 of the countries which are not currently accepting Portal notifications, your EU representative (or your importers in those countries) must notify the local Competent Authority directly using the old method.

For reference, these countries are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Swede.n

What a mess! And this is before we go into the complexities of which country may charge and which will have free submission via the Portal. As usual, “watch this space” at ECHA.

Kent travel update for HGVs carrying dangerous goods, 5 January 2021

Joanna Sacks of CLEAPSS is on a DFT email list, and very kindly forwarded an email from them as follows:

The update has been published below:

Drivers of HGVs carrying certain types of dangerous goods must get tested for COVID-19 before arriving in Kent.

The terms of use at Manston Airport and Ashford Sevington prohibit the following loads:

  • explosives
  • polymerizing substances
  • infectious substances
  • radioactive substances
  • goods that are high consequence from a terrorism point of view

Drivers of HGVs carrying any of these goods will be refused access to these sites and must get tested for COVID-19 at alternative sites before arriving in Kent.

If you are not sure whether your load falls into one of these categories of dangerous goods, confirm with your company or consignor before departing from the depot.

Testing is available at various information and advice sites across the UK. Check whether the motorway service station or truck stop you plan to visit has any restrictions for certain dangerous goods before you travel.

Some companies are also providing private testing for their drivers; check with your company if this is being offered.

The weekend recipe

It’s cold, there’s snow on the ground (it’s still snowing as I write this newsletter), and I remembered (too late for the day itself) that there’s an important New Year recipe from Scotland that you might like to know about. It’s not Black Bun (although I might put that in another time), instead it’s Steak Pie. This is much more appropriate for the weather than a slimming diet or cold salads, which can be saved until Lent.

Steak pie is traditionally bought from the butcher’s shop, and reheated thoroughly in the oven before serving to family and friends on New Years’ Day. Scottish butchers make a range of meat-based baked goods, like Scotch pie, bridies, and this steak pie, in the same way that Yorkshire butchers often make pork pies. Steak pie is widely available in supermarkets, which is easier than making from scratch, but nowhere near as satisfying.

Scottish Steak Pie is a very simple dish, comprising steak pieces, onions and gravy cooked together first, then topped with a puff pastry lid and baked in the oven. It’s not something you add other vegetables into, although it’s usually served with boiled or mashed potatoes (or chips), and peas, perhaps with another vegetable too.

This is a butcher’s recipe from Scotland, which I have amended slightly to make it more traditional (the original is here:


  • 1 lb braising beef steak, cubed
  • 1 large onion (normal preferably, not red)
  • lard for frying
  • 1 pint boiling water (approximately)
  • 2 oz tomato puree
  • 3 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • salt to taste
  • puff pastry for the lid – either pre-bought all butter puff pastry, or make your own rough puff (recipe below)
  • beaten egg or egg yolk to glaze the pastry

Method: fry the cubes of beef in the lard in a frying pan over a high heat, once nicely browned transfer to a saucepan. Do this in batches to avoid the juices running too much. Brown the onions last, and deglaze the pan with some of the boiling water, scraping the brown bits into the pan as well, and just cover the meat with the rest of the water. Add the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for around 1 hour. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 6 about 1/4 of an hour before the beef is ready (depending on how long it takes your oven to get up to temperature). Once the beef is done, you can check the consistency of the sauce, and if it’s too thin add some thickener (more tomato puree, or some slaked plain flour or cornflour, and cook until the desired consistency) or too thick you can add a little boiling water, and stir and cook until it’s a good consistency. Place the beef and sauce in a pie dish, and cover with the pastry. Glaze with egg yolk, and bake for around 30 minutes in the oven. Serve with boiled potatoes or mash, and peas.

To make rough puff pastry (full puff takes even longer) (recipe from my trusty Penguin Cookery book):

  • 8 oz butter, salted or unsalted
  • 8 oz plain flour
  • 1/4 level teaspoon salt if using salted butter, or 1/2 level teaspoon salt if using unsalted butter
  • cold water acidulated with a dash of lemon juice (can add ice cubes to keep it very cold)

Sift the flour into a basin, and add the butter cut up into 1/2 inch cubes (don’t rub the fat in, the layers come from the butter smearing in the dough layers). Mix to a stiff dough with the acidulated cold water. Roll out an oblong about 1/2 inch thick, fold one third up, one third underneath, and roll out and fold again (or you can use book fold). Chill for 20 minutes in the fridge, and repeat the folding. Do this twice more before using.

Reasons to be cheerful

Today’s Fast Show clip is “Two painters on a bridge”

, and as a bonus clip, Ralph, Ted and Tina Turner: 


Alan Ritchie of WSP has also sent through “Tyrion tries to negotiate with Monty Python”, for Game of Thrones fans:

. Classic! And another Bob Fleming clip, his Favourite Folk Songs from the live Fast Show: 


Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to the newsletter today and throughout the 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 lovely weekend, and that you, your family, friends and colleagues all stay safe and well, because that’s the most important thing.

​Kind regards,


Janet Greenwood

TT Environmental Ltd