For millennia mankind has sought protection against pests and other organisms which threaten our health, our food, our environment and the places in which we live and work. Our principal defences against these agents of disease and destruction are known as ‘biocides’.
Early biocides included natural pyrethrum (from Chrysanthemum flowers), bitumen, camphor, vinegar and rose water. The modern definition of a biocide is a formulation containing one or more active substances that will – in very small doses – repel, control or destroy harmful organisms. Biocides are essential in our everyday life and have numerous applications that provide enormous benefits to all of us, spanning from keeping drinking water clean to making products longer-lasting. They ensure the protection of humans and animals from harmful organisms (by disinfection or pest control) but also contribute to a more sustainable use of a large variety of products (by preservation). They are essential for a healthy, productive and sustainable society thanks to their prevention and protection properties against harmful organisms.
Biocides are subject to their own set of regulations and should not be confused with medicinal drugs, used to treat the human body, or with plant protection products, used directly on crops. The Biocidal Products Regulation 528/2012 (the BPR) and its review programme regulate the approval of active substances and the subsequent authorisation of biocidal products containing those substances on the European market. The conditions for authorisation and the related use instructions ensure that the required effectiveness is achieved whilst posing no harm to human health or the environment.
Biocides represent a diverse and highly specialised industry, with specialised and essential uses that provide enormous benefits to us, each day.
The Biocides cluster consists of several member sector groups that deal with policy and technical issues around the BPR, follow up on the approval of certain active substances or address the importance of microbial control.