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Europe to make pest control products safer

Current rules (directive 98/8/EC) provide for an EU-wide list of active substances permitted in biocides

The EU Council reached an agreement which will make pest control products and other everyday items safer to use. The Council determined its first-reading position on revised EU rules concerning biocidal products. The act covers a wide range of pest control products, such as insecticides, disinfectants and repellents, but not medicines or agricultural pesticides.
For the first time, the law identifies which active substances may not be used in biocidal products. It bans substances that can cause cancer, mutations or fertility problems as well as chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors. In addition to the Commission's proposal, the Council also excluded chemicals with harmful effects on the environment1. At the same time, such substances may be essential to prevent a serious danger to public health or the environment. Under certain specific conditions, they may therefore still be authorised.
The regulation now also covers articles incorporating pest control chemicals. A wide range of everyday products, for instance sleeping bags, sofas or smell-free socks, are treated with biocidal substances. They may no more be treated with unauthorised chemicals and must be labelled. Thus the new rules make such products much safer for consumers. These obligations apply to all articles treated with biocides on the EU market, including imported
Current rules (directive 98/8/EC) provide for an EU-wide list of active substances permitted in biocides. Member states may authorise products containing approved chemicals if they fulfil additional conditions. Such authorisation is in principle accepted by other EU countries, following a procedure known as mutual recognition.
The review supplements that with the possibility of authorising biocidal products at EU level so as to reduce the administrative burden on producers. The European Chemicals Agency will then be responsible for issuing permits for both substances and products. This will be an optional procedure in addition to the current system of national product authorisation. As a first step, the Council wants to introduce Union authorisation for certain product types from 20131. From 2020 onwards, most biocidal products will qualify
for EU authorisation. The regulation also seeks to improve the mutual recognition system.
In June 2009, the Commission proposed to replace the existing directive by a regulation so as to harmonise its implementation (11063/09). The political agreement reached will determine the Council's position at first reading. The European Parliament voted its firstreading position on 22 September.

by S. C.
03 january 2011, World News > Europe