20 March 2020 Bulletin

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Potassium Fluoride

Potassium fluoride is a chemical compound with the formula KF. It is one of two primary sources of the fluoride ion for chemistry and applications in manufacturing. It is part of the alkali halide family and can be found naturally as the rare mineral carobbiite. Inorganic potassium fluoride is created by dissolving potassium carbonate in hydrofluoric acid. [1] Potassium fluoride takes the form of white crystals or powder and it has a a sharp saline taste. The compound can be moved in a solid or aqueous solution form and is toxic if ingested. [2]

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Norway begins checks on compliance with CLP labelling

Follow-up to 2017-2018 project includes biocides. Inspectors from Norway’s environment agency have embarked on a project to check that chemicals sold to consumers in the country contain the correct hazard labelling and packaging. They are visiting stores to find out whether retailers are complying with obligations laid down in the EU’s CLP Regulation and are targeting products including cleaning agents, car and boat care products, and other chemicals for home use. The exercise, which runs for the month of March, is a follow-up to checks conducted at stores between 2017 and 2018. This year, inspectors will also check compliance under the EU’s biocidal products Regulation on goods including insecticides and repellents. An exercise from 2018 found that half of biocidal products checked contained substances that were banned or restricted. In a separate project last year, inspectors detected incorrect hazard labelling and classification in nearly 90% of interior fragrance products. Meanwhile, at the end of 2019, an EU-wide enforcement project report revealed that a significant number of classification and labelling of chemical mixtures did not meet basic legal obligations. The Echa Enforcement Forum’s REACH-En-Force (Ref-6) project saw inspectors in 29 countries checking 3,391 mixtures and inspecting 1,620 companies during 2018.


Earth has acquired a brand new moon that’s about the size of a car

Earth might have a tiny new moon. On 19 February, astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona spotted a dim object moving quickly across the sky. Over the next few days, researchers at six more observatories around the world watched the object, designated 2020 CD3, and calculated its orbit, confirming that it has been gravitationally bound to Earth for about three years. An announcement posted by the Minor Planet Center, which monitors small bodies in space, states that “no link to a known artificial object has been found”, implying that it is most likely an asteroid caught by Earth’s gravity as it passed by. This is just the second asteroid known to have been captured by our planet as a mini-moon – the first, 2006 RH120, hung around between September 2006 and June 2007 before escaping. Our new moon is probably between 1.9 and 3.5 metres across, or roughly the size of a car, making it no match for Earth’s primary moon. It circles our planet about once every 47 days on a wide, oval-shaped orbit that mostly swoops far outside the larger moon’s path. The orbit isn’t stable, so eventually 2020 CD3 will be flung away from Earth. “It is heading away from the Earth-moon system as we speak,” says Grigori Fedorets at Queen’s University Belfast in the UK, and it looks likely it will escape in April. However, there are several different simulations of its trajectory and they don’t all agree – we will need more observations to accurately predict the fate of our mini-moon and even to confirm that it is definitely a temporary moon and not a piece of artificial space debris. “Our international team is continuously working to constrain a better solution,” says Fedorets.


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