New year, new challenges for Microbial Control
We are way into 2021. I believe it is fair to say that many of us started the year in a quite expectative mood. Many questions remained unanswered regarding the Covid outbreak which impacted us all in our private and professional lives. The authorisation of several vaccines and the subsequent launch of a vaccination campaign appeared as signs of hope in an otherwise difficult time. What is our outlook for the remainder of the year? Well, it must be recognised that microbial control still plays an essential role in our daily activities and hand disinfectants have become commonplace in all homes and all shops across Europe. Industrial facilities have put in place strict hygiene rules for workers and employees who are sometimes working in shifts to avoid disruption in case of a new cluster. This increased awareness of hygiene will most likely remain even after the pandemic.
Even if we are not there yet, we remain hopeful the vast majority of the population in Europe will be vaccinated by the end of the year. Will this mean microbial control will then become less relevant? Surely, it will not!
Albeit the crisis, European authorities have been working hard in releasing in October last year the most ambitious strategy for chemicals since the creation of REACH more than a decade ago. And we shall all see the first initiatives of this strategy being implemented in 2021: revision of the classification framework for chemicals with new classes for endocrine disruptors and persistent substances in the environment; a concept for essential uses of hazardous chemicals that will define where they can still be used or not; a new approach in designing the safe chemicals of the future; a revamped model for facilitating the production of products that are easier to reuse, repair or recycle. The revision of REACH you say? This will come in 2022.
Despite the fact that the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) is not explicitly mentioned in the text so far, analysts agree that the microbial control industry will no doubt be impacted, whether it is through the new classification rules or through REACH regulated chemicals used in biocidal products. Analysts also agree that the BPR is the “testing ground” for many of the new upcoming requirements for broader chemical regulations.
For MCEC and Microbial Control, all these initiatives are assessed as extremely relevant for our business and we are preparing for the next steps: evaluation of the impact, preparation of the positions, meetings with authorities, etc. 2021 will keep us busy. Do you want to know more about these initiatives? Read the following articles. About MCEC? Just contact by responding to this newsletter.
MCEC President, Global Industry Leader at IFF – Microbial Control
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How are biocides impacted by the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability?
The Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, published 14 October 2020, offers both challenges and opportunities for biocides. The Microbial Control Executive Council will need to contribute to the ongoing political discussions on the concepts of ‘essential use’, ‘One Substance, One Assessment’ and ‘Safe and Sustainable-by-design’ to convey the importance of biocides to the society.
MCEC will have the opportunity of showcasing the undoubted benefits of microbial control technologies by contributing to the ongoing discussions at political level and conveying the right messages to policy makers and regulators.
The future of the EU legislation on sustainable products
The Microbial Control Executive Council has the opportunity to contribute to the public consultations under the Sustainable Products Initiative which will see the revision of the scope of the Ecodesign directive in a way that addresses the presence of hazardous chemicals in certain product categories. The consultation was published in the form of a questionnaire on 17 March and the deadline for comments is set for 9 June. MCEC will carefully assess the published questionnaire and will identify positions to better represent the interest of microbial control.
Back in November 2020, MCEC contributed to the 4-weeks public consultation initiating the launch of the Commission’s work in preparing a sustainable products policy framework. MCEC’s position was very clear: if the industry supports the authorities in their efforts of ensuring more sustainable products on the markets, the BPR already provide all the necessary safety requirements for human health and the preservation of the environment. Therefore, no new legislation is considered needed to regulate the use of microbial control technologies in products.
The use of disinfectants challenged in organic food production
Biocides are expected to face new challenges in relation to the production of organic food products. The incoming EU Regulation on the production and labelling of organic food entering into force on 1 January 2022 will provide the European Commission with the authority to restrict or ban chemicals in cleaning products used at any point in the production and processing of organic food.
The International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products (AISE) raised concerns in a letter to the European Commission, following a proposal from the Expert Group for Technical advice on Organic Production (EGTOP) to restrict products. The list of restricted products includes several biocidal substances. The experts also proposed draft criteria for positive lists, according to which Ecolabelled products would be preferred where possible. These criteria would automatically deselect chemicals-based disinfectants unless other methods (e.g. preventive measures) are not sufficient.
MCEC is currently reflecting, including with industry partners, on which actions to take in defense of microbial control in all places where it is needed and required to ensure product and consumer safety.
The Microbial Control Executive Council, or MCEC, is an initiative of the world’s leading companies developing and supplying microbial control technology and solutions. It was established in 2012 in order to promote the safe and effective use of microbial control technologies, and to create a reference point for stakeholders and the public alike to understand the benefits of microbial control technologies and the steps being taken to ensure the use of more sustainable biocides across all applications.
MCEC member companies, BASF, DuPont, ICL, LANXESS, Lonza and Troy Corporation, are committed to the betterment of public health and wellbeing through the advancement of sustainable microbial control technologies.
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