EU round up: ECHA demands information on biocides created during coating application and use

21 July 2015

Paints and coatings companies have been told to re-review their products regarding their biocidal impact, in case combinations of chemicals within a preparation create a new biocide during and after use.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has now released new guidance on so-called ‘in situ generated active substances’, saying companies that have yet to declare such chemicals for assessment can do so by September 1, 2016. If not, products generating unregistered and unassessed ‘in situ’ biocides will have to be withdrawn from the market. That said, paints and coatings companies and suppliers have an additional year over the existing September 1, 2015, deadline for lodging other biocides for assessment under the EU’s biocidal products regulation (Regulation EU 528/2012).

An ECHA note explained: "While many in situ generated active substances are included in the Review Programme, the submission of data on the precursors has not been consistent (eg data on several precursors were provided in a single dossier) and consequently precursors have not been consistently evaluated.”

It gave as examples, active bromine generated from sodium bromide and sodium hypochlorite; and hydrogen peroxide generated from sodium percarbonate by dissolution in water.

Some of these combinations and chemical reactions are already known to ECHA and so are in its biocidal product review programme but some are not. These need to be referred to the EU agency for companies ‘to keep their biocidal products on the market’. And a new system has been drafted by the Commission to make sure these ‘in situ’ biocides are examined properly, with assessments considering the precursor substances and the resulting biocide created during use.
More details –

The reform comes as ECHA has warned some companies have had difficulties managing their biocidal product authorisations "since their assets have erroneously expired and ‘disappeared’ from the [registry for biocidal products] R4BP 3 system preventing the companies from updating any information”.

The EU agency has asked competent authorities that grant authorisations for biocidal products ‘to urgently send information to the agency on the expired assets for authorisation that are still valid’, to prevent related products being banned from the market from September 1 (2015).

• Meanwhile, a new version of ECHA’s registry for biocidal products has been released, which allows companies to make product authorisation change requests in parallel and improves the synchronisation of related applications, speeding up assessments and decisions by regulators. An ECHA note explained: "Applicants will be able to submit different kinds of change requests even if their authorisation asset is already subject to an ongoing change.”

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