Considerations on Directive 98/8 of the European Commission – the biocide directive

Rafał Patryn 1,  
Jarosław Sak 1,  
Department of Ethics and Human Philosophy, Medical University of Lublin, Lublin, Poland
Nursing Department, University of Economics and Innovation, Lublin, Poland; Department of Informatics and Health Statistics, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2011;18(2):452–458
Nowadays, versatile human activity requires the development of technologies in the chemical and biological industries that ultimately enable an increase in human activity, and help create the living conditions in the domain of human civilization. Increasing this activity very frequently requires the implementation of new technologies concerning the active elimination of numerous threats and obstacles which are found in the human and natural environment. The concept of so-called biocidal products has been introduced into the European legislation as long as ten years ago, defining them as various types of ‘chemical substances or microorganisms which can deter, render harmless, or exert a controlling effect on any harmful organism, by chemical or biological means’. They can be added to other materials (typically liquids) to protect them against biological infestation and growth. Biocidal products - due to their specificity, toxicity and composition - create a serious risk for human and animal life and health, as well as for the natural environment, it is therefore fully justified to have legal regulations concerning such biocides. Because biocidal products are intended to kill living organisms, and as such, many biocidal products pose a significant risk to human health and welfare, and have significant adverse effects on the natural environment. Great care is required when handling biocides and appropriate protective clothing and equipment should be used. Currently, Directive 98/8/EC is a comprehensive set of legal regulations concerning biocidal products, their specificity, principles relating to their placing on the market, and guidelines for their control. It is worth emphasizing that Directive 98/8/EC implements the clampdown on poisoning cases with biocides, the duty of which was passed to the so-called Centres of Consultation and Toxicological Information. These centres provide round-the-clock (24-hour) medical consultation and assistance in cases of poisonings with these products. The presented study constitutes an in-depth presentation and analysis of the European law concerning biocides and the current regulations applying to them.