Europe to protect nature with even stronger regulationStaff writer ▼ | Monday September 2, 2013 7:49AM ET
Biocides are chemicals used to suppress harmful organisms such as pests and germs (i.e. moulds and bacteria), including insect repellents, disinfectants and industrial chemicals like anti-fouling paints for ships and material preservatives.
The new regulation is a major breakthrough for the internal market with the possibility to request an EU-wide authorisation for biocidal products, which will allow industry to directly place their products on the entire EU market.
The total cost savings for the industry, to be achieved through this simplified and more efficient product authorisation, data sharing and data requirements are estimated to be € 2.7 billion over a period of 10 years.
The new provisions also reduce animal testing by making data sharing compulsory and encouraging a more flexible and intelligent approach to testing. A dedicated IT platform (the Register for Biocidal Products) currently used for submitting applications and recording decisions, will now also be used for disseminating information to the public.
The new Regulation was also the first piece of legislation to integrate the new Commission definition on nanomaterials.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will provide scientific and technical back-up to the Commission and the Member States under this new Regulation. The agency's tasks include, among others, delivering opinions on the approval of active substances and the Union authorisation of biocidal products. The total number of opinions to be delivered by ECHA is expected to grow from 80 in 2014 to 300 in 2020. ■