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Keywords:

  • Biocide regulation;
  • Biocidic product directive;
  • Eco labels;
  • Biocide-free alternatives

Abstract

The number of products containing biocides is increasing at the same time as the number of available biocides is decreasing. Biocides are biologically active chemicals with a vast area of applications where demands for maintaining product quality by use of biocides presents a major challenge for developers striving to meet emerging environmental concerns and fulfilling criteria for eco-labeled consumer products. Tightening regulations have, however, led to stagnation in the current development of new biocide chemistries, and the “nontoxic poison” has yet to be formulated. Accordingly, the present article presents a critical overview of European Union regulation of biocides and their usage and of some of the future challenges for meeting demands for environmentally safe products and processes in which biocides are used. The Biocidal Product Directive, which is presently implemented, is one focus in the present article. Regulations of environmental, health, and safety (EHS) risk classifications and their role in the future development of biocide-containing products are also discussed. Studying the biocide dilemma may provide tools for the chemical industry as whole for proactive anticipation of the effect of emerging regulatory demands on product development.