Welcome to the NCEC Newsletter and thank you for reading

In this issue we cover...

Regulatory News

European poison centres - final Annex VIII to CLP due imminently.

Updates to the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR 2017).

Complimentary Resources

Nanomaterials in the workplace - where do your responsibilites lie?

Upcoming webinar - European poison centres: review of Annex VIII to CLP.

Events & Training

NCEC to host a series of poison centre seminars and workshops in Spring 2017.

Hazmat 2017 draws in international audiences.

People News

NCEC welcomes a new emergency responder to its dedicated team.

Company News

Upcoming customer survey - register your details now.

Interesting Calls


Fuming lead-acid battery.

A blast from the past.

I hope you enjoy reading our newsletter and if there is anything you would like us to feature in future issues, then please feel free to contact me.

Daniel Haggarty of the National Chemical Emergency Centre

Dan Haggarty

Head of Emergency Response

National Chemical Emergency Centre

E: ncec@ricardo.com

T: +44 (0) 1235 753654

 Regulatory News

Final Annex VIII to CLP due imminently  


Following on from our attendance at a workshop on the 23rd January held by the European Commission, NCEC has been informed that the final regulations are due for ratification imminently. NCEC expects to see the final Annex VIII to CLP soon. A summary of these changes will be evaluated in our upcoming webinar.

The workshop, held for key stakeholders, highlighted that complying with article 45 of CLP and preparing for the upcoming Annex has led to major challenges for certain areas of the chemical industry. In particular; the paints and dyes, construction and petroleum sectors, who have concerns on being able to meet the upcoming requirements in full. In addition to the challenges that industry will face the Poison Centres will also have to overcome the increased volumes of registrations from industry.

Read more





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Latest update to the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR 2017) published 


The latest updated version of the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR 2017) came into force on 1st January 2017. There is a 6 month transitional period during which ADR 2015 can continue to be followed up until 30th June 2017.

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 Complimentary Resources

Nanomaterials in the workplace - where do your responsibilities lie? 


In a recent survey, NCEC asked its clients and stakeholders whether they or their employees were concerned of the risk that nanomaterials may pose to their workforce. Almost a quarter of responders to the question replied that they were.

In this article, specialists from Ricardo Energy & Environment and the NCEC provide insight into the current nanomaterial landscape and explain what companies can do to reduce the risk to their stakeholders and safeguard business continuity.

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Upcoming webinar - European poison centres: review of Annex VIII to CLP 


Date: 26 April 2017 (Subject to change as it is dependent on when the Annex is published in the European Journal)

Time: 14:00 GMT

In aid of the anticipated release of the final regulations as mentioned above, NCEC's team of regulatory experts will provide an update on the EU Commission's published Annex VIII to CLP; the clarifying amendment to poison centre legislation. We will inform on the finalised requirements and evaluate the impact this will have on your European business operations.




Register now


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Events & Training 


NCEC to host a series of poison centre workshops and seminars in Spring 2017 - register your interest now 



In aid of the anticipated release of the final regulations as mentioned above, NCEC invites you to register your interest in a series of poison centre webinars and comprehensive seminars & workshops taking place in Spring 2017.

If you are placing mixtures or biocides that are hazardous on the market in Europe then we can support you to notify your products with poison centres and meet your regulatory obligations in all Member States. Taking place in Spring 2017, these sessions will allow you to seek advice from NCEC's team of poison centre experts.

Register your interest here


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Hazmat 2017 draws in international audiences 




2 months remain until the 10th anniversary of the premier event of the year for Hazmat professionals. Returning to Stratford-upon-Avon by popular demand, this year it set to be bigger and better than ever and will welcome a strong international contingent from the CTIF Hazmat subgroup and ICE.

Workshops for this year include a session on foam from Tactical Hazmat and Angus Fire; How Hazmat ‘Street Smart’ are you? from the ever popular Mike Callan; an interactive scenario from NCEC; a case study from a fire service and, once again, Tactical Hazmat’s ever so popular Hazard Categorisation (Field Chemistry) session.

Presentations will include sessions on liquefied natural gas from UKLNG and liquefied petrol gas from Tactical Hazmat; laboratory incidents from NCEC and the Wetteren rail car incident involving acrylonitrile by the world’s largest chemical producer, BASF.

The event will be rounded off by a facilitated discussion on ‘Where do we see Hazmat response in 10 years’ time?’ with a panel of experts drawn from delegates and speakers at the event. You can still enter any questions you have for the panel here.

Register now to secure your place at Hazmat 2017



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People News 


NCEC welcomes a new emergency responder to its dedicated team 




We’re proud to announce the addition of an emergency responder to our dedicated team. Following 6 months of intensive in-house training, Samuel Turner passed both set of examinations with a merit mark.

With over 600 learning objectives in our training programme, emergency responders are put through a rigorous two-part examination and tests over separate days before they are able to take any unsupervised calls.

The learning objectives and examination are based on the most complex real incidents faced by NCEC over the last 40 years. The emergency responders are graded according to performance with any areas of development identified and follow-up actions assigned and monitored.

Sam joins the team with having obtained a 1st class honours in MChem Chemistry with Study in Industry from the University of Sheffield; equipping him the essential knowledge required to deliver an effective and appropriate response.

Congratulations Sam!


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Company News  


NCEC customer survey - register your details now  


Our relationship with our customers is the cornerstone to what we do at the NCEC and to this end, in March, we will be conducting our annual customer survey.

This helps us to understand not only how we are performing in regards to our service delivery and areas for us to improve based on your needs but is also key in shaping the services and products you want from us into the future.

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 Interesting calls 






A fire and rescue service (FRS) crew was attending a police raid on a house in the home counties, where it was thought people had been producing an illicit substance. A FRS crew member contacted NCEC seeking confirmation that suspicions about unknown chemicals in the house were correct. Of particular concern was a freezer drawer containing a substance , which was providing some interesting readings on the crew’s equipment, and a flask of lime green liquid that was very alkaline.

NCEC advised the FRS on the syntheses of the substance in the freezer and that of many of the other substances found in the house. From the information provided, our Emergency Responder deduced that the flask of lime green alkali was some sort of cleaning agent (similar to household bleach) that may be used as a reagent in clandestine syntheses. The occupier of the house claimed that the substance in the freezer was acetone. Using the extensive knowledge of chemicals and experience of advising on similar situations, our Emergency Responder confirmed that the substance was most likely to be acetone.

Our team’s range of chemical experience and extensive library provides us with an incredible breadth of knowledge that can be applied to a vast range of incidents. By working together and pooling knowledge means we are able to bring about swift resolutions to incidents, so protecting people, the environment and property.




Fuming lead-acid battery  


An FRS crew member contacted NCEC during an incident involving four people who were working in a school’s server room. They reported an odd smell, and then developed breathing difficulties and started to feel sick. The FRS crew discovered that there was a lead-acid battery in the server room and the incident commander was planning to commit a team in gas-tight suits to investigate if the batteries were giving off fumes, which could have caused the casualties’ symptoms.

NCEC quickly ascertained the model of the battery used in the server room and told the caller that it was unlikely to be leaking electrolyte due to its construction. However, it could be releasing fumes of sulphur oxides and hydrogen sulphide1, and potentially other fumes depending on the construction of the casing. We provided information on the Chemdata© documents they could use to find the hazard information and first-aid steps for anyone who had been exposed. This information was then handed on to the ambulance service to assist them in triaging the casualties before taking them to hospital.

We take a broad approach to training, which gives our Emergency Responders an impressive scope of knowledge regarding numerous sources of hazard. When combined with our various information sources, we can be confident that we are always providing the best advice even in unusual situations. In this instance, the advice we provided enabled the firefighters to select the correct protective equipment and the ambulance service to treat the casualties successfully.




A blast from the past 


During World War Two, the Home Guard was equipped with various weapons. To ensure that any weapon caches were not found by invading forces, Members of the Home Guard buried them and did not mark their location on any map, trusting that they would know where to find them when needed. Occasionally, one of these caches is discovered and NCEC is often contacted for advice.

In a recent incident, an FRS crew was attending an incident where workmen had uncovered a box of self-igniting phosphorus grenades while working on a busy road. Explosives experts on scene were planning to detonate the grenades under water in a commercial bin. One of the crew contacted NCEC wanting to know how to manage the water after the detonation, believing that the products would be phosphorus pentoxide and sulphur dioxide. Haste was necessary as the road had been closed and was causing major delays.

Our Emergency Responder thought that while the products suggested were reasonable, they were unlikely to persist under water . We quickly confirmed our suspicions and informed the caller that phosphorus pentoxide and sulphur dioxide would form in air but, under water, these would dissolve quickly, leaving a mixture of acids. Our advice allowed the FRS crew to pass control of the wastewater to local waste authorities , enabling it to be disposed of properly.

Since it was established in 1973, NCEC has dealt with all sorts of chemical incidents. Our unique experience and comprehensive training ensures that we always provide excellent advice. In addition, thanks to our database of calls, we can review the advice our Emergency Responders have provided in the past.


Questions about NCEC

Would you like more information about NCEC?

Email: ncec@ricardo.com or Tel: +44 (0) 1235 753654

NCEC was recently contacted by Dorset Fire and Rescue Service, who were at the disused Dorchester Prison. A container of test tubes had been discovered by archaeologists during site excavation. These tubes were marked “Home Office” and with the names of a number of chemical weapons: Mustard Gas, B.B.C., D.M. and Lewisite. A bomb disposal team were en-route but the Fire Service wanted more advice.


NCEC’s responder explained that the mystery package was an Air Raid Precautions simulant kit from WWII, a surprisingly common find. These kits would have been issued to Air Raid Precautions (ARP) personnel or HM Forces to help them recognise and identify chemical warfare agents, should an attack occur. Some of these kits contain safe gases that simulate the appearance and odour of the chemical weapons, but others can contain the real thing. Our responder was able to discuss the individual hazards of each chemical with the FRS and explain that as long as the package and test tubes remained intact they would unlikely pose a risk to health.


The cause of chemical incidents can be either current or historical, but access to chemical knowledge from experienced NCEC responders can help make sense of many potentially dangerous situations, no matter how ancient.