First of all, we would like to express our sympathy to those affected by the situation in Ukraine. MCEC members are fully aligned with Cefic’s statement in which it “expresses its solidarity with the people of Ukraine, and our thoughts are with all those affected. This invasion of Ukraine by Russia violates international law, specifically the sovereignty of an independent country. Cefic supports the measures the EU and its member countries have decided on. This war endangers safety, prosperity and sustainability of the whole European continent, and we urgently call for an end to violence.”
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has put the region in the global media spotlight since 24 February. In times like these reporting about day-to-day business of MCEC seems rather mundane. Yet we would like to keep you posted on the latest developments around microbial control technologies in the EU. Continue reading to discover the latest advocacy highlights and more.
José Mosquera (MCEC Chairman)
ECHA launches EU-wide enforcement project on biocides
Before the Christmas break, ECHA confirmed that a second enforcement project (BEF-2, mandate attached) to investigate biocidal products on the EU market will take place in 2022 – it will cover products that contain both approved and non-approved active substances under the biocidal products Regulation (BPR).
Enforcement of EU chemicals safety and environmental legislation in the EU is a key issue for MCEC. No product should enter the market if it does not comply with EU rules. Not only would it undermine the trust people place in our products, it also has an impact on the competitiveness of EU business.
BPR: Netherlands requests support with Union authorisation work
The Netherlands has received nearly half of the total number of Union authorisation applications made so far under the Biocidal Products Regulation. The country's Secretary of State for Infrastructure and Water Management, Steven van Weyenberg, called for a more even distribution of the workload across member states, as well as more guidance from the Commission to facilitate "a harmonised approach and efficiency in the assessment".
A.I.S.E. & Biocides for Europe released their report on the implementation of the Biocidal Products Regulation and a series of recommendations to ensure that biocides continue to serve society’s needs in a safe and timely way
Issues with the re-classification of preservatives in EU Ecolabel paints and varnishes
As follow up to the previous European Union Ecolabelling Board (EUEB) meeting in November 2021, the Board organised a virtual open session on 9 March 2022.
The event included a panel on the “Draft Commission decision prolonging the validity of EU Ecolabel criteria for indoor and outdoor paints and varnishes, bed mattresses, absorbent hygiene products, furniture and wood-, cork- and bamboo-based floor coverings”. During the meeting, it was understood that it will be important to foster alignment with the Sustainable Products Initiative (publication on 30 March) and provisions covering Ecolabel. Therefore, additional information on the extension of Ecolabel criteria should be discussed at the next EUEB meeting (expected for May 2022).
Several derogation requests were also discussed and interested stakeholders were granted the possibility to provide additional data on actual formulations, until 1 April.
The Commission published a decision in 2014 establishing the ecological criteria for ecolabel for indoor and outdoor paints and varnishes, with four years validity. In 2018, this was amended to extend the validity period until 31 December 2022. The Commission is now considering the prolongation of the validity after 2022. In the meantime, several amendments were adopted, addressing preservatives, among others.
Biocides potentially leaching from building products
According to a study published by the German Environment Agency (UBA) on “Building and renovation as a source of pollutants in the urban environment”, rain may contribute to leachability of biocides and inorganic substances into the environment. However, the study keeps an open question on whether “leaching from new construction or redevelopment areas leads to the excedance of environmental quality targets in urban surface waters”.
The study focuses on potential leaching of substances from the construction materials of the building envelope.
Inspections in Luxembourg and the Netherlands report cases of non-compliant disinfectants on national markets
A recent investigation by Luxembourg’s environment agency brought to light non-compliance of disinfectants put on the national market. 65% of the products inspected between autumn 2020 and summer 2021 were non-compliant with the country’s biocides legislation, which imposes national law on biocidal products containing active substances still under review in the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR).
Most of the non-compliant products contain ethanol, still under review under the BPR, as well as cases of other substances and inadequate labelling.
Similar findings were reported by the Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT), following inspections on disinfectants in 29 supermarkets.
How Microbial Control can contribute to the implementation of the European ‘One Health’ action plan against antimicrobial resistance
The European Commission aims to set concrete objectives and activities to strengthen Member States’ action against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in the area of public health. It has opened a ‘call for evidence’ to help support the development of a proposal for a Council Recommendation on AMR, expected later this year.
MCEC responded to the call for evidence highlighting the contribution to tackle “suboptimal hygiene practices in healthcare settings”. Our members fully understand the need to avoid any form of misuse of products or practices that may lead to the exacerbation of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).
Biocidal compounds, when deployed appropriately and used as intended, are an important line of defence against infection or uncontrolled microbial proliferation and thus a means of limiting antibiotic use. Therefore, they also play an essential role in combatting the AMR threat.
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, Arxada, BASF, IFF, ICL, LANXESS and Troy Corporation, are committed to the betterment of public health and wellbeing through the advancement of sustainable microbial control technologies.