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Safeguarding human health and environment: new requirements and appropriate measures for the use of certain biocidal substances

Wood preservatives, insecticides, acaricides and products to control other arthropods

Copper compounds like copper oxide, copper hydroxide and basic copper carbonate are widely used in a range of biocidal products, such as wood preservatives. In order to avoid unacceptable risks for humans and the environment (for instance, for the aquatic and soil compartments), as from 9 February 2012 the European Commission has adopted specific measures [1] for wood preservatives containing copper (II) oxide, copper (II) hydroxide or basic copper carbonate, which are now added to the list included in Annex I of the 'Biocidal Products Directive' [2].

Similar provisions [3] have been agreed for bendiocarb (an insecticide used in public health and in agriculture). As an example, in view of the risks identified for human health, safe operational procedures are now required for bendiocarb, such as the use of appropriate personal protective equipment.

In view of risks identified for the environment, when these copper compound-based wood preservatives are used for outdoor constructions near or above water, freshly treated timber must be stored after treatment under shelter or on impermeable hard standing, and losses from the application of these products must be collected for reuse or disposal. 

As for bendiocarb, in view of its potential risk to honey bees, it is now required to take appropriate action to prevent foraging bees gaining access to treated nests by removing the combs or blocking the nest entrances.

For some other substances which have been recognised as source of unacceptable effects for humans and the environment - such as biocidal products containing flufenoxuron - a Commission Decision [4] has been adopted, requiring that this substance should no longer be placed on the market with effect from 1 August 2012. A number of other biocidal substances [5] in various types of products (like preservatives, slimicides, private area and public health disinfectants) containing cyclohexylhydroxydiazene 1-oxide, Diphenoxarsin-10-yl oxide, Glyoxal, chloralose, aluminium phosphide and others of the product types listed in the Annex to the Commission Decision 2012/78/EU shall no longer be placed on the market with effect from 1 February 2013.

These provisions are adopted in the context of the Biocidal Products Directive Review Programme, aimed at further reducing the risks posed by biocidal products. The process for the adoption of the risk assessment of active substances is coordinated by the Joint Research Centre, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, which provides technical and scientific support to Member States' Competent Authorities and the European Commission.

 

[1] Commission Directive 2012/2/EU of 9 February 2012 amending Directive 98/8/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council to include copper (II) oxide, copper (II) hydroxide and basic copper carbonate as active substances in Annex I thereto OJ L 37, 10.2.2012, p. 60–64.

[2] Directive 98/8/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 1998 concerning the placing of biocidal products on the market. OJ L 123, 24.4.1998, p. 1–63

[3] Commission Directive 2012/3/EU of 9 February 2012 amending Directive 98/8/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council to include bendiocarb as an active substance in Annex I thereto OJ L 37, 10.2.2012, p. 65–67 

[4] 2012/77/EU: Commission Decision of 9 February 2012 concerning the non-inclusion of flufenoxuron for product type 18 in Annex I, IA or IB to Directive 98/8/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of biocidal products on the market (notified under document C(2012) OJ L 38, 11.2.2012, p.47-47

[5] 2012/78/EU: Commission Decision of 9 February 2012 concerning the non-inclusion of certain substances in Annex I, IA or IB to Directive 98/8/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of biocidal products on the market (notified under document C(2012) 645) OJ L 38, 11.2.2012, p. 48–50

 

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