January 2011 Newsletter

Happy New Year to all our readers, and welcome to the latest edition of the NCEC newsletter.

This issue contains the latest information on legislation, events, training and recruitment, along with information about a new 'recreational' drug and some interesting calls from our files.

NCEC's Hazmat Event 2011 takes place in Birmingham between 14 and 16 February - book your place now!

If there is anything that you would like to see in future newsletters, please let us know. We are always happy to receive suggestions and feedback – you can contact us by emailing ncec@ricardo-aea.com or calling +44 (0) 1235 75 3654.

Happy reading.

Bill Atkinson
Head of Emergency Response

Email: ncec@ricardo-aea.com
Web: www.the-ncec.com


14 to 16 February at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Birmingham

Our Hazmat Event 2011 promises to be bigger and better than ever before, thanks to the continued support from emergency services and other hazmat professionals.

The conference draws on knowledge and experience from a range of hazmat professionals and industry leaders, as well as NCEC's own Emergency Responders.

Hazmat Event 2011 topics will include:

  • Hazardous Material Response
  • Chemical Exposure and Monitoring
  • Emergency Planning
  • Developments in Legislation
  • Future Technologies
  • Practical Case Studies

Hazmat Event 2011 is the perfect opportunity to gain a wider understanding of these issues, and more importantly, practical ways to address them.

Confirmed speakers so far are:

  • Vince Aldred, Culham Centre for Fusion Energy
  • Nick Bailey, Braemar Howells
  • Waldemar Bujalski, Centre for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research
  • Bruce McGlashan, Environment Agency
  • Clive Dennis, HSE
  • Tim Donavan, Met Office
  • Bob Hark, Dorset FRS
  • Paul Horner, DHL
  • Caroline Raine, NCEC
  • Kathryn Roberts, NCEC

For more information, please go to www.hazmatevent.com.

There are still opportunities to sponsor the event - contact us for more information.

If you are ready to book your place, simply fill in the booking form and return it to us.


ECHA recommends that eight substances of very high concern (SVHC) be subject to authorisation

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has submitted to the European Commission a recommendation that eight chemical substances of very high concern should in future not be used without authorisation. Four of the substances are classified as both carcinogenic and toxic to reproduction, three as carcinogenic and one as toxic to reproduction. They are all used in processes or products to which workers or consumers are exposed.

The protection of human health and the environment is at the heart of REACH. Making these eight substances of very high concern (SVHCs) subject to authorisation seeks to ensure that their risks are properly controlled and that the substances are progressively replaced.

The eight substances are:

  • Diisobutyl phthalate - DIBP (toxic to reproduction) - a substance used as plasticiser for nitrocellulose, polyacrylate and polyacetate dispersions;
  • Diarsenic trioxide - As203 (carcinogen) - a substance used in the manufacture of glass with special properties and of zinc;
  • Diarsenic pentaoxide - As205 (carcinogen) - a substance which could be used as a replacement for diarsenic trioxide, no known current uses in the EU;
  • Lead chromate (carcinogen and toxic to reproduction) - a substance used as pigment and in the manufacture of pyrotechnics;
  • Lead sulfochromate yellow - C.I. Pigment Yellow 34 (carcinogen and toxic to reproduction) - a pigment used to colour plastics and coatings;
  • Lead chromate molybdate sulphate red - C.I. Pigment Red 104 (carcinogen and toxic to reproduction) - a pigment with similar uses as lead sulfochromate yellow;
  • Tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate - TCEP (toxic to reproduction) - a substance used as a plasticiser and viscosity regulator with flame-retarding properties for coatings;
  • 2,4-Dinitrotoluene - 2,4-DNT (carcinogen) - a substance mainly used in explosives and propellants for ammunition.

The final decision on the inclusion of the substances in Annex XIV of the REACH Regulation will eventually be taken by the European Commission following the regulatory procedure with scrutiny. Then, substances on the List can only be used within the EU when authorised for specific purposes.

(All information taken from http://echa.europa.eu)

Classification and Labelling notifications

The notifications deadline for Classification and Labelling was 3 January 2011.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has received 3,114,835 notifications of 24,529 substances, with over 800,000 from Germany, 500,000 from the United Kingdom and almost 300,000 from France.

For any new chemical substances, notification must be made within 30 days of placing the substance on the EU market.

First REACH deadline has passed!

By the REACH deadline of 30 November 2010, 24,675 registration dossiers had been successfully submitted for 4,300 substances including nearly 3,400 phase-in substances. The final number of registrations and substances, including a breakdown of 'phase-in' and 'non phase-in' will be available when all submitted dossiers have been processed in the coming weeks. ECHA's website will regularly update the numbers of phase-in registrations and registered phase-in substances.

The next REACH deadlines are;

1 June 2011 - 1 June Notification of SVHC in articles

1 June 2013 - Second Phase-in Substances must be registered (all substances >100t)

1 June 2018 - Third Phase-in Substances must be registered (all substances >1t)

Help with REACH

ChemeDox is NCEC's unique online chemical safety documentation management system. It allows you to:

  • Have 24/7 access to your Safety Data Sheet (SDS) inventory which is managed and maintained by NCEC
  • Link and search for your chemical safety documents in one secure REACH and GHS/CLP-ready system
  • Meet your ten year audit trail requirements for SDS provision under REACH
  • Search your inventory by GHS/CLP classifications and hazard/precautionary statements
  • Ensure you are compliant with COSHH for creating new assessments or managing existing assessments

Manage your SDS/document inventory by location to ensure consistency of information across your organisation - avoiding the risk of document and time duplication

For more information on ChemeDox, please contact us.



The 2010.2 version of Chemdata is about to be released – as usual, we will notify customers as each version is ready for download from our customer portal.

Chemdata now contains details of over 40,000 substances with more than 130,000 names, trade names and synonyms. It also includes improved searching algorithms to help you find the substance you are looking for quickly and easily.

We will soon be able to offer free trials of the full Chemdata database. If you are interested in a trial, please contact us.

We are currently running a special offer of a 10% discount on our standard prices for all new orders received before 31 March 2011 - contact us for more details.


An unlicensed drug from Russia is becoming increasingly popular in the UK. Phenazepam is a benzodiazepine developed as an adjuvant for anaesthetics and for anxiety control. Its IUPAC name is 7-bromo-5-(2-chlorophenyl)-1,3-2H-1,4-Benzodiazepin-2-one and its 'street' name is Bonsai or Bonsai Supersleep. Side effects include dizziness, ataxia, drowsiness, amnesia and double vision.

So far the drug is covered under the relevant Controlled Substances Act or equivalent in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Russia and Sweden. In Ireland it falls under the Criminal Justice (Psychoactive Substances) Act of 2010.

The LD50 for the substance as listed in Toxnet is 2400mg/kg although prescription dosage in Russia is usually 0.5mg, since it normally takes two to four hours for effects to peak, and overdosing is not uncommon. This delay in effects led to a death in Sweden in 2009.

Unfortunately Phenazepam is often taken with other substances such as morphine, ketamine, oxycodone or alcohol, which exacerbate its effects and can result in hospitalisation and/or death. There have been reports of it being used to spike drinks in a similar way to Rohypnol. The drug has so far been linked to three deaths in the USA; in each case it was taken with other CNS-depressing substances.

Related news reports:





Emergency Services Show 2010

Emergency Services Show 2010

We had a successful time at the show in November, seeing many of our current Chemdata users and meeting several new faces. The winner of our prize draw was Michael Barry from AKE Limited, who chose to take up a 6 month free Pocket Chemdata licence. Congratulations, Michael!

Chemical Supply Chain Conference

NCEC were pleased to be a sponsor of the inaugural Chemical Supply Chain Conference that was held in Antwerp last November. The seminar, which was organised by Navigate Events, included speakers with expertise in such topics as incident management, industry trends and regulatory developments.

Europe's transport and manufacturing industries were well represented and Richard Shreeve, NCEC Sales Director, said that he had the opportunity to meet with many of the delegates during the two days.



We provided a number of practical spill response courses over the past two months, including three for Thermo Fisher at their own premises and one for UOP Limited. Each course comprised hazard awareness, theory of response, and a practical session.

Andy Baker, who organised the Thermo Fisher courses said "The course was delivered by a knowledgeable trainer in a manner that was readily understood by all delegates regardless of their knowledge and experience. Coupled with the practical sessions, the training enabled the team members to formulate practical and effective emergency response procedures and gave them the confidence to respond to a situation. Precisely what was required."

Sue Clegg from UOP Limited course told us "This is the first time we have used the NCEC for Emergency Response training and we found it really beneficial to our employees. We had mock incidents planned where our employees had to physically deal with the scenario. It made us think more of our surroundings and the possible incidents we could be faced with – we are going to continue this training with NCEC so that employees are kept focused on their environment."



Hazmat First Response
15 March 2011 -  Harwell, Oxfordshire

Chemical Hazard Awareness
7 February 2011 - Haddenham - FULLY BOOKED

Practical Hazmat Response
2 February 2011 - Ellesmere Port - FULLY BOOKED

16 March 2011- Harwell, Oxfordshire

There is more detailed information about our training courses on our website; to book a place or ask about our tailored and in-house courses, please contact us.


The NCEC Emergency Response room receives thousands of calls a year. Here are a few of our recent calls:

Safe response to a fire

NCEC received a call from a factory worker who wanted advice about an uncontrolled fire in the factory store room. Approximately a tonne of the product was present in sealed paper bags.Our Emergency Responder confirmed that there were no casualties and recommended that the Fire Service were called as soon as possible to bring the fire under control. We made the caller aware of the hazards of the product and of the combustion products, advising that the area be evacuated and that people should remain upwind of the smoke and fumes.

It became clear that the caller wanted to try and tackle the fire themselves, although this was obviously beyond their expertise, since there was no sprinkler system and they only had access to hand-held fire extinguishers. Our Emergency Responder reiterated that the area should be evacuated and that the Fire Service should be called. The incident was dealt with and no-one was harmed.

Immediate access to advice like this means that the incident can be dealt with in a calm and informed manner, considering all the risks and thereby preventing injury.

Gas identification

NCEC received a call from a Fire & Rescue Service who were attending a fire at scrap yard involving a number of compressed gas cylinders. One of the cylinders involved could not be identified so we took a description of the size and colour of the cylinder, before using our industrial experience to identify it as one of two non-flammable, non-toxic gases which both posed an asphyxiation hazard. Our Emergency Responder familiarised the Fire Officer with the uses and hazards of both gases, and recommended water cooling from a safe distance.

Immediate access to advice like this means that appropriate precautions are taken for the level of risk posed, allowing the incident to be resolved thoroughly and efficiently.

Chemical reactions

NCEC received a call from an employee of a food manufacturer where a minor release of chlorine gas had occurred. The emergency services were in attendance and a number of people exposed to the gas had been taken to hospital. The building had been evacuated and the gas had now dissipated. The caller wanted to know if a reaction between three products supplied to the site could have produced the chlorine gas. Our Emergency Responder made the caller aware of the hazards of each of the products and stated that chlorine gas could be produced if one of the products came into contact with acid.

Immediate access to advice like this means that chemical incompatibilities are quickly identified, thus preventing a major incident endangering lives and property.



We are always interested in talking with talented people who could bring value to our team. If you are interested in a career in chemical risk management or emergency response, we would like to hear from you.

One of our newest Emergency Responders recently gave this presentation about his role as part of a careers day at Oxford University. More broadly speaking, our team consists of both chemists and non-chemists in all aspects of the delivery and sales of chemical safety consultancy.

We are actively recruiting now. Please contact us for more information.