Environment Committee approved tougher pest and germ control products

MEPs at the Environment Committee consider that safety checks should be tightened up for pest and germ control products and more approvals should be managed at EU level. The proposed update to existing legislation covers a wide range of "biocides", but not those covered by other legislation, such as agricultural pesticides.

MEPs want to tighten up checks to ensure products do not pose a threat to non-target organisms, humans and the environment. Thus the Environment Committee approved tougher pest and germ control products. This decision is based on the previous agreement reached by the Council in December 2010, on protecting consumers from biocides chemicals by making pest control products safer.

According to MEPs, the use of the most problematic substances, such as carcinogens, should not be allowed except where absolutely necessary. This would happen due to the absence of effective alternatives and the need to prevent a wider risk to health or the environment. In addition, the committee wants biocides to be regularly reviewed, suggesting approvals or renewals should be for a maximum of 10 years, and less for problematic substances. With regard to the biocides, MEPs also wants to ensure that the use of tiny particles (nanomaterials) does not constitute a risk. Therefore, they want specific checks to be devised and carried out on products that contain nano-ingredients.

The Environment Committee wants that more products are to be assessed at EU level, so as to ensure a simpler and more consistent application process. Thus, it suggests that applications for products with new active substances could be submitted to the chemicals agency (ECHA) from 2013 and for other categories from 2017.

On the other hand, ECHA Management Board adopts ECHA Work Programme for 2012 and policy on avoiding potential conflicts of interest. On this programme it stated that the priorities for ECHA in 2012 will be to live up to the expectations on evaluation, authorisation applications as well as preparation for the new Biocides and PIC regulations.