Biocides are chemicals or microorganism which can deter, or exert a controlling effect on any harmful organism by chemical or biological means. Biocides are commonly used in medicine, agriculture, forestry, and industry, and are found in disinfectants, rat poison, insect repellents, anti-mould sprays, paints, water purification tablets, and many other products.
On 17 July, a new regulation – the Biocidal Products Regulation – enters into force and sets rules for placing biocidal products on the EU market. The aim is to simplify and harmonise the procedures for authorization and at the same time ensure a high level of protection of human health and the environment. Compared to its predecessor – the Biocidal Products Directive –, the new regulation will save industry an estimated 2.7 billion euros over a period of 10 years. It will also reduce animal testing by making data sharing compulsory and encouraging a more flexible and integrated approach to testing.
More details may be found in the interview with Jukka Malm, Director Regulatory Affairs, European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), Helsinki, Finland.
From September 1, 2013, the regulatory requirements will apply for industry. ECHA’s task will be to coordinate the approval processes of biocidal substances and authorization of biocidal products at the Union level. Here, mainly large firms submit an application to ECHA and if the product is judged safe, it may be sold throughout the EU. Small and medium-sized enterprises submit an application to their own national authority, to sell a product in their home country. A new Biocidal Products Committee, consisting of representatives from each of the EU Member States, will give its opinion on biocidal products. ECHA will also provide technical and scientific support to the industry and Member States through IT tools, guidance, and their helpdesk service.
- European Chemical Agency (ECHA), Helsinki, Finland
- New Biocides Legislation – Interview with Jukka Malm
ChemViews Magazine 2012.
- ECHA’s Biocidal Products Regulation web page
- European Commission’s press release