By Debbie Nice, Category Director, Facilities Supplies
Activities such as cleaning, hand and dish washing are all innocent enough, but the products used for them are now under increased levels of scrutiny.
If, as a reseller, you supply biocidal products (any cleaning, washing or disinfectant products that include anti-microbial or anti-bacterial ingredients) to customers, it’s vital to check that every range in your offering complies with EU regulations.
The Biocidal Products Regulations mean that only products containing active substances on an authorised ‘Article 95’ list should be sold or re-sold anywhere in the EU. These chemical-containing products should also only be used for their approved purposes.
Using chemical or biological means to control unwanted viruses, bacteria or fungi is an integral part of cleaning healthcare and food preparation environments, or where animals are kept. As James Tobias, sales director of Clover Chemicals says: “The use of biocides is deemed to be essential to protect humans, animals and materials.”
The advice is that biocides should be used where they’re most needed, rather than as a ‘cure all’ for all cleaning situations. This is because anti-bacterial or anti-microbial products can kill most bad bacteria, but do not destroy all of them, leaving some behind that become resistant to chemicals and antibiotics.
Some residues of chemicals can also reach our bodies, whether through the water supply, food or antibiotics, where they can kill the good bacteria in our intestines as well as the bad ones, which may disturb the ratio of bacteria in our system and potentially undermine resistance to antibiotics.
We may like to think dirt disappears when we clean a worktop or our hands, but it is going down the drain and into the sewerage system leaving behind anti-microbial ingredients that may, in some circumstances, do more harm than good.
To ensure that biocides are used only where they are most needed, the EU biocide regulations make it clear that these products should only be sold and used for the purposes they are approved for.
According to James Tobias, every raw material that enters the market must be registered for specific use by one or more companies that want to supply it within the EU:
“Every substance has to be registered for applications or types of use. There are 22 product types including human hygiene and food or feed areas. Each biocidal product can only now be used for the application it has been approved for.”
When it comes to selecting products for cleaning use, there are a range of options on the market.
For its formulations, Clover Chemicals only uses active substances in the Article 95 listing and only for the applications for which they’re approved.
VOW’s 2Work range of cleaning products comply with all EU regulations and are designed for the professional workplace.
The cost of new biocidal products could increase in the coming years as manufacturers incur the costs of testing and registering active substances.
With a second phase of the EU legislation due to be implemented, the requirements on manufacturers could increase further, which may lead them to focus only on ‘core’ biocidal products for critical cleaning environments.
From the reseller’s perspective, it may well make sense to recommend an appropriate use of chemicals in healthcare, food preparation and animal environments and to consider chemical free options everywhere else.