When is a biocide not a biocide? – when it is a cosmetic!


Managing Director, JSC International Limited (an ERM Group Company), Harrogate, United Kingdom

The term ‘Biocide’ is derived from bios, the Greek word meaning ‘life’ and the Latin caedere meaning to kill, so literally something that is capable of ‘killing life’. The term is used to describe a diverse range of chemicals that are used to control harmful organisms (typically, but not exclusively, microorganisms). Biocides include products like disinfectants, preservatives and chemicals used to control microbial growth on surfaces, plus other products such as insecticides, repellents and rodenticides.

Historically the regulation of biocidal products and the active substances that they contain has varied considerably across Member States within the EU, with some products being regulated and others not. This was considered a barrier to free trade within the EU and resulted in the implementation of the Biocidal Products Directive (BPD) in 1998.  The objectives were to harmonise the regulation of biocidal products throughout the EU; to provide a high level of protection for humans, animals and the environment; and to ensure that products are sufficiently effective against target species.

The Biocidal Products Directive ...