Global approaches to biocide regulations


*Corresponding author
ERM, Harrogate, United Kingdom


Approaches to how biocides are regulated can differ significantly across the globe. Regulatory regimes vary from singular over-arching legislations that capture biocides collectively to multiple legislations which govern them.
In other jurisdictions biocides are referred to as pesticides and are regulated depending on their chemistries and not necessarily the end uses. Certain regimes also have legislations that have broader legislative scopes and capture biocides and other products such as crop protection products e.g. herbicides. This variability will be examined in this review with a consideration on what the future may look like for biocide regulations globally.

This article is not intended as a comprehensive review of global biocide legislation, rather it considers a selection of regulatory approaches taken by different countries around the world.

Biocides are a diverse range of chemicals or biologicals which are used globally to control unwanted organisms across a wide spectrum of human activities. They commonly include disinfectants, insecticides, repellents, rodenticides and preservatives (chemicals to control microbial growth in products and on surfaces) which are used widely to protect human and animals against disease or to protect goods and property against damage.

As biocides are intended to have biological effects on target organisms, they have the potential to cause unwanted side effects on human health or the environment. For this reason, many countries or regions have legislation in place to control the use of biocides and reduce the potential for adverse effects.

This article considers some of the approaches to biocide regulation taken by different countries across the globe and comments on how the future may look for biocide legislation globally.

Biocide specific legislation

Biocides are a well-defined group of chemical substances or biologicals in Europe. However, in other geographies they are less defined ...