There are many challenges facing the biocides industry, including the barriers to investing in new and innovative antimicrobial solutions. Biocide producers often face high costs from long development and review timeframes. Additionally, there is growing uncertainty on what applications will be approved driven by often overly conservative risk assessment models and constantly moving and developing guidance. These factors act as significant barriers to the development of new active substances, which means for society there will be fewer alternatives in this market moving forward. As only one third of biocides on the market have been evaluated, and with the other two thirds still under evaluation, there is a significant risk of non-approval as the legislation develops and is amended through technical progress, as well as threats of future changes in legislation. This could lead to significant societal problems as many existing biocides may be removed from the market without the availability of well-functioning substitutes.
Given the length of the application process and the considerable costs involved, the MCEC fulfils the role of informing policymakers, industry players and the scientific community of the benefits antimicrobial technologies bring to society. The MCEC believes that an overall understanding of the importance of biocides, and the subsequent benefits brought to our everyday lives, needs to be taken into consideration when dealing with antimicrobial technologies.
In recent years, a debate has emerged over a ‘hazard vs risk’ based approach employed by different policymakers across the EU without truly reflecting on the benefits brought by such products. This has led to non-approval decisions being made on reasons based on purely intrinsic properties but not taking the negligible real risk for humans or the environment into account. Thus, the MCEC has made it its mission to provide accurate and up to date information to policymakers in an attempt to focus on the key facts. The MCEC is active in communicating on the added value of biocides through events and online engagement. The organisation provides comprehensive and convenient information on how microbial control helps us to create a healthier and safer environment, and details how microbial control improves our world through a wide range of industries and sectors, e.g., disease and infection control, marine shipping, paints & coatings, wastewater management or oil and gas recovery.