Biocides are used to control organisms that threaten our health or the environment. But biocides themselves can also be harmful. That is why biocides are only authorised if they have been assessed to be safe. Sometimes it is necessary to make an exception. For example, if a decision is needed quickly, or if no safe product is available at all. It is possible in the European regulation to deviate from the normal authorisation procedure. RIVM has devised a system for making well-founded assessments in these situations.
If a new organism threatens people's health, there is no time to wait for the full admission procedure. Think of the high demand for disinfectants during the outbreak of the coronavirus. It is also possible that all products for a particular use fail to meet the strict approval requirements. An example of this are products for the control of rats. Exceptions to the authorisation procedure are sometimes possible for reasons of public health or the environment. In that case, these biocides may still be used, provided that the decision is properly substantiated.
The system developed ensures that relevant factors are properly considered, such as the public interest (public health, environment), the risk of the biocide and available alternatives. For example, it must be carefully examined whether the threat to health or the living environment is indeed so great that the government must consider an exception to the authorisation procedure. It must also be ensured that the harmful organism cannot be controlled in another way. Furthermore, the benefits must outweigh the risks of using the biocide.
RIVM and EthiekWerkt have developed this system in coordination with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW) and the Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides (Ctgb).