Following my review of the MEL Chemistry Kits, I was contacted by MEL CEO Vassili Philippov (@vassiliph) to thank me for the feedback.

When you read my original review, you’ll see that although I was generally very impressed with the kits themselves, I was less thrilled with some of the simplicity of the chemistry ‘experiments’ that came with them. Vassili was receptive to the feedback and made a really great point, that I thought worth repeating here, since it gives some context to my critique.

As I had anticipated, Vassili told me that there are all kinds of restrictions on chemicals that can be supplied with such kits, but when one takes a close look at the list, as he says, it’s quite a challenge to come up with interesting experiments that can be done with them!

EN 71-4

In the European Union, the chemicals that are allowed chemistry sets like MEL’s are governed by the European Standard EN 71-4, the safety requirements for toys, more specifically, for Experimental sets for chemistry and related activities. The list is very restrictive (about 60 substances), and includes limits on the amounts of the chemicals that are allowed. The complete list can be viewed here. When one considers that list, and the shackles that it imposes, it gives a lot more context to my criticisms.