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Public Health (04-11-2008)

PUBLIC CONSULTATION on the preliminary opinion concerning the antibiotic resistance effects of biocides.

Today, the European Commission and the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) launch a consultation process on a scientific opinion on the antibiotic[1] resistance effects of biocides[2]. The consultation will run until 30 November 2008.
Biocides are invaluable compounds that provide society with numerous benefits. The worldwide increase of antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens and the accompanying treatment failures in human and animal infectious diseases are generating concerns. Therefore, in order to preserve the role of biocides in infection control and hygiene it is paramount to prevent the emergence of bacterial resistance and cross-resistance through their appropriate and prudent use.
As a result, the Commission asked the SCENIHR whether current scientific evidence indicates that the use of certain active substances in biocidal[3] products can contribute to the occurrence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Today, the SCENIHR adopted a preliminary report on the effects of active substances in biocidal products on antibiotic resistance. The SCENIHR concluded that current scientific evidence does indicate that the use of certain active substances in biocidal products may contribute to the increased occurrence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, both in humans and in the environment.
The preliminary report is published on the web and stakeholders are invited to comment through an online consultation aimed at gathering feedback on the scientific evidence and conclusions drawn by the SCENIHR.
For more information on the SCENIHR opinion, and the online consultation, please visit:

·         [1] Antibiotic: an active substance of synthetic or natural origin which is used to eradicate bacterial infections in humans or animals.
·         [2] Biocide: an active chemical molecule to control the growth of or kill bacteria in a biocidal product.
·         [3] Biocidal product: active substance or preparation, intended to destroy, render harmless any harmful organism by chemical or biological means.