Biocidal products are used to control unwanted organisms that are harmful to human or animal health, or that cause damage to human activities. These harmful organisms include pests (e.g. insects, rats or mice) and microorganisms (e.g. moulds or bacteria).
Biocidal products include:
- insecticides (except those used for plant protection purposes which are regulated by Regulation (EU) No 1107/2009)
- insect repellents
- preservatives for materials such as wood, plastics and fibers
- anti-fouling paints for the protection of ship hulls.
Biocidal products play an important role in EU citizens' daily lives. For example, insecticides and disinfectants are essential for public health, as they help control:
- vector-borne diseases (e.g. malaria, dengue fever or chikungunya)
- food-borne diseases (e.g. salmonellosis, listeriosis)
- hospital-acquired infections (e.g. MRSA).
They are also widely used in materials such as plastics, paints, textiles, wood, etc. to protect these materials against microbial, fungi or insect decay.
However, because of their intrinsic properties, biocidal products can pose risks to humans, animals and the environment. As a result, the EU has set up strict rules and procedures to ensure a high level of protection for human health, animal health and the environment.