EU to bring in stricter controls on pest control products
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‘Biocides,’ ranging from rat poisons to disinfectants, will be subject to tougher safety checks, following a European Parliament vote on Thursday. The updated rules aim to better protect human health and the environment, while streamlining the marketing approval process.
“I am very pleased that we have found balanced answers to improve both safety checks and the approval process, so that Europeans will have access to new pest control products that are safe and effective,” said rapporteur Christa Klass, after MEPs approved the legislation by a show of hands. Council, which has already provisionally agreed to the new legislation, must give a formal green light for it to enter into force.
The updated legislation closes a loophole so that treated products, such as furniture sprayed with fungicide or anti-bacterial kitchen worktops, will be included under the rules and labelled. Agricultural pesticides will continue to be covered by other EU legislation.
Restricting harmful substances
The most problematic substances, such as those that are carcinogenic, affect genes or hormones or are toxic to reproduction, should in principle be banned. Exceptions should only be made in Member States where strictly necessary, for example if a biocide is needed to safeguard against a specific danger to health. Approvals and renewals will be time-limited, while safer alternatives are developed.
Concerned about possible risks of nanotechnology, MEPs secured separate safety checks and labelling for products containing nano-sized materials.
Opening up the market
The new legislation further harmonises the EU market for biocidal products and sets deadlines for applications to be assessed. The recognition of approvals among Member States will be improved and the possibility to apply for authorisation at EU level will be phased in from 2013, becoming possible for most biocidal products by 2020.
Reducing animal testing
To avoid duplicating tests on animals, companies will be required to share data in exchange for fair compensation.