MCEC NEWSLETTER – APRIL 2020
Microbial control technologies are the building blocks for a wide range of disinfectants and antimicrobial products. Following the COVID-19 outbreak and emergency measures taken by the governments across the EU and beyond, it is key to get essential products to health workers, to help contain the spread of the virus or to treat patients.
Viruses and bacteria are spread not just by hand-to-hand contact but also by hand-to-surface contact. Both hand washing and surface disinfection are therefore critical hygiene methods to reduce the spread of infectious diseases. In health care settings, schools or at home, when there is a risk of infection being passed among colleagues and family members, disinfectant hand wash and alcohol-based hand rub formulations are recommended and provide an effective combination of microbial control.
Despite events around us being cancelled or postponed, and with most of us working from home, we have not been sitting still. As members of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), it is our main priority to ensure critical supplies can be moved swiftly across the EU, despite border closures. Cefic sent a letter to the European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen with a number of key suggestions developed by our logistic experts to quickly allow easier and faster transport of essential goods throughout Europe.
Understanding our responsibility, the MCEC member companies went on to allocate resources for the increased production of hand and surface sanitisers, donate hand disinfectants to hospitals, and remain close to authorities to better understand and anticipate the needs in these dreary times.
If you, downstream users of microbial control, want to know more about the ongoing work authorities are doing in relation to speeding up national authorisation procedures for disinfectants, as a response to the safety crisis, feel free to outreach to us!
Stay at home (if you can) and stay safe!
Global Industry Leader for Industrial Preservation at DuPont Microbial Control, MCEC Chairman
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Top priorities triggered by the European Green Deal: Industrial Strategy, Circular economy, Farm to Fork, and Climate neutrality
European Commission leaders promised it last year: the first one hundred days of the EU Community Executive will see the release of major policy developments with implications for (at least) the next five years, requiring drastic changes to achieve climate neutrality within a generation. And they kept that promise.
The Commission triggered the Green Deal in 2020 by publishing the “Climate Law” proposal in early March. This new legal instrument, yet to be adopted, aims to enshrine the climate neutrality target into legislation.
Also in March, an Industrial Strategy and an updated Circular Economy Action Plan were published back to back. The purpose of the former, is to ensure better enforcement of the current rules to strengthening the EU Single Market; it will also provide subsidies to industrial sectors that can help achieve a substantial decrease in CO2 emissions. Last but not least, it will strive for the development of a competitive European digital sector. The action plan for a renewed Circular Economy focuses on changing how we produce and consume in Europe, insisting on designing products to make them last longer, and reinforcing the circularity potential of many sectors, from textiles to construction and batteries.
Two further initiatives, a Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategy should complete the picture by end of the month, focusing on the preservation of clean air, soils and waters, while ensuring both food security and safety for European consumers.
But how does microbial control fit into all this? Well, one should recall that chemistry is a cross-cutting, necessary step to help support all the objectives listed. MCEC has decided to prepare proactive communication to further raise all instances where microbial control can play a role, e.g. how to make products last longer, to ensure safe food and water for end-consumers, to accompany other industries in their transition towards less energy use, to help farmers take care of their livestock and products, etc.
Although many EU binding measures are yet to come, you won’t stop hearing from MCEC in the coming weeks and months!
ECHA is moving biocides forwards
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) plays a key role in managing the placement of biocidal products in the European Union market. In that regard, the agency recently took measures of interest for the microbial control industry.
The Agency agreed for instance on its work programme for the next two years, with clear implications for biocidal products. Among the identified priorities, ECHA will work on recommendations for risk assessments, guidance on impact of substance residues in drinking water, and on further regulatory clarification in the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR).
On a different, but fundamental note for the microbial control industry, ECHA, the European Commission and national competent authorities agreed recently on an action plan to speed up the work on the ongoing review of biocidal substances, which is due by the end of 2024.
Further coordination between the EU Agency and the Member States, should lead to a significant increase of substances being reviewed by end of 2020.
Interesting developments also recently occurred in the area of product preservatives. Based on an official request from the European Paints and Coatings industry (CEPE), ECHA agreed to develop a harmonised methodology for performing a quantitative risk assessment for sensitisation. Work is understood to start imminently and could help prevent shortages of preservatives for industry uses if positive outcomes are achieved.
As you may have noticed, MCEC has communicated more proactively within the past three months on the benefits of microbial control in many applications and diverse contexts. As part of our strategy, we stay close to downstream users and stand ready to help increasing visibility on the issues you are facing via policy-hooked communication at EU-level. Feel free to amplify our messaging.
MCEC member organisations are committed to the betterment of public health and well-being through the advancement of sustainable microbial control technologies. The members of MCEC are BASF, DuPont, ICL, LANXESS, Lonza and Troy Corporation.
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