“Disinfectants are essential products, also beyond health crises” MCEC reminds the European Commission in response to the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability Roadmap


On 9 May 2020, the European Commission launched a public consultation to gather stakeholders’ inputs on the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability (CSS) roadmap. A roadmap is a tool of the Commission that clarifies scope and priorities of upcoming policy initiatives. The CSS is a major milestone of the European Green Deal for the chemical industry, and a priority for Cefic. It is expected to be published after this summer.

In response to the consultation, the Microbial Control Executive Council (MCEC) called on the European Commission not to lose sight that microbial control active ingredients and technologies have always fulfilled a solution-providing role. Recognising the importance of hand- and surface disinfectants during this unprecedented COVID-19 times was a positive development, but MCEC emphasised they are ‘essential products’ and not only during a health crisis.

Where regulating biocides is concerned, MCEC requested a balanced approach between costs and benefits for the upcoming policy measures from the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. MCEC also urged the European Commission to apply a full risk-based approach when evaluating the safety of microbial control active ingredients and technologies. Applying solely hazard-based criteria would only result in a lesser level of protection of our societies against very potent pathogens or the deterioration of materials and products due to microbial action. The focus on hazardous properties of substances alone would further lead to increasing waste, going against the ambitions of the European Green Deal.

Last but not least, MCEC invited the European Commission to put forward efficient solutions on the issue of substitution of chemicals. There is no one-size-fits-all approach for alternative substances and identifying a substitute does not equal the replacement of one substance in all existing applications. Thus, companies’ capacities to reformulate their products for consumers and professional users – large ones and SMEs alike – might be limited and substituting substances can take substantial time before delivering results.

MCEC’s position on the CSS is a central element of our engagement with European authorities on the regulatory challenges the industry is facing. The European Green Deal is a source of opportunities for MCEC to bring our issues to the table of the EU institutions.