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Biocidal products are necessary to contrast harmful organisms for human and animal health and the organisms which damage natural or manufactured materials. Harmful organisms include insects, mice, bacteria, moulds and many others.
Due to their intrinsic properties and their pattern of use, biocidal products can pose risks to humans, animals and to the environment.
In September 2013 entered into force the new Biocidal Products Regulation (EC) N. 528/2012 (BPR) which improves the free movement of these products within the European Union (EU) and assures a high level of protection for human and animal health and the environment. BPR provides a two-step procedure: approving the active substances at EU level and authorizing biocidal products at Member State (MS) level. Once the active substance is approved and included in the EU positive list, the authorization for placing on the market a biocidal product containing that active substance, can be granted according to 4 different standard procedures:
- National authorization in a single EU MS
- Mutual recognition (in sequence)
- Mutual recognition (in parallel)
- Authorization granted by the European Commission (Union Authorization)
The Biocidal Products Commitee of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) provides opinions to European Commission about the active substances approval, the biocidal product union authorization and scientific and technical support documents.
BPR covers 22 different product types divided in 4 main groups: Disinfectants, Preservatives, Pest control and Others.
Main Group I - Disinfectants includes:
- products used for human hygiene applied on or in contact to the skin or to the scalp for the main aim to disinfect them
- disinfectants and algaecides without direct application on humans and animals to sanitize surfaces, materials, devices and furniture. The relevant areas are swimming pools, aquaria, air conditioning systems, walls and floors in domestic, public, industrial or professional use sites
- products used for veterinary hygiene
- products used for the disinfection of equipment, containers, surfaces and pipelines related to food and feed production, transport, storage and consumption and products used to imbue materials that may come into contact with food
- products used to disinfect drinking water for both humans and animals
Main Group II - Preservatives includes:
- products used for the preservation of manufactured products as insecticides, rodenticides and many others, with the aim to prevent microbial deterioration and to ensure the shelf-life of the products
- products used to protect films and coatings from microbial contamination so as to mantain the original properties of the articles
- wood preservatives to control wood deteriorating organisms as insects
- products to protect materials such as leather, paper, rubber
- preservatives for construction materials which control microbial and algae assault
- products to preserve liquids used in cooling and processing systems
- slimicides to avoid or to control slime growth on materials
- products to prevent microbial contamination of the fluids used in metalworking
Main Group III- Pest control includes:
- molluscicides and products to control worms and other vertebrates
- insecticides, acaricides and products to control other arthropods
- repellents or attractants
- products to control vertebrates different from the previously mentioned
Main Group IV- Other biocidal products includes:
- antifouling products
- embalming or taxiderrmic fluids