Biocidal products are considered necessary to control organisms that are harmful to human or animal health, and to prevent damage to natural or manufactured materials. However, biocidal products can also present risks to humans, animals and the environment, due to intrinsic properties and the way in which they are used. The BPR regulates biocidal products through an authorisation and approval process.
According to the BPR, a biocidal product is defined as follows:
“any substance or mixture, consisting of, containing or generating one or more active substances, with the intention of destroying, deterring, rendering harmless, preventing the action of, or otherwise exerting a controlling effect on, any harmful organism by any means other than mere physical or mechanical action”
BPR defines 4 biocidal product groups and 22 product types, the groups are Disinfectants, Preservatives, Pest Control and Other Biocidal Products, to reflect a couple of product types that cannot be grouped into the other categories.
The presence or generation of actives substances produce the desired action of a biocidal product. BPR requires that active substances are approved for use in the relevant product type at EU level. However, if the active substance is in the Review Programme of existing active substances (on the market prior to 14 May 2000), the biocidal product can be placed on the market. Products containing new active substances under assessment are also permitted, providing a provisional authorisation has been granted.
The biocidal product itself requires authorisation, which can be obtained at National or EU level, depending on product type and the intended market. The BPR further requires inclusion of the substance or product supplier in the BPR Article 95 List for the product type(s) to which the product belongs, before the product can be placed on the market.
Certain articles and materials treated with biocidal products, e.g. furniture and textiles, are also in scope of BPR. Under previous legislation, the Biocidal Products Directive (98/8/EC), there was no restriction on the import of articles from third countries (non-Union) treated with biocides e.g. furniture treated with wood preservatives. This meant that articles treated with non-authorised, or even prohibited biocidal substances were not restricted from the EU market.
New labelling and information exchanges requirements for articles were introduced with the BPR. Labelling is required when a claim is made that the treated article has biocidal properties, or it is a condition of the active substance approval. Article supplies must provide consumers with information regarding the biocidal treatment of the article if requested.
It is useful to note, that ‘treated articles’ are defined as any substance, mixture or article treated with, or intentionally incorporating one or more biocidal products. A water-based paint that incorporates a biocidal product is therefore a treated article and in scope of the BPR.
Page reviewed 02 January 2020
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