The Biocidal Products Committee (BPC) is responsible for preparing the opinions of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) on several issues, including approval of active substances and Union authorisation of biocidal products. At Kerona Scientific’s virtual Biocides Symposium, held in March this year, BPC chair Erik van de Plassche spoke about the past, present and future of the committee.
The BPC is composed of members appointed by EU Member States; all states are represented at present except for Bulgaria. Supported by 4 working groups that discuss technical and scientific matters, the BPC meets 4 times per year to adopt opinions that are submitted to the European Commission (DG SANTE). It largely operates by consensus, but about 10% of the time an opinion is instead taken by majority decision.
Mr. van de Plassche noted that the committee has been dealing with more and more processes over time, mainly active substance approval but also Union authorisation, Article 38 decisions (where there is disagreement between Member States over mutual recognition), and Article 75 requests from the Commission or Member States relating to technical guidance or risks to health or the environment.
There has been a drop in the number of opinions on active substance approvals since the BPC began its work in 2014, due mainly to the amount of time now being spent by Member States in assessing endocrine disruption properties. There is also a backlog of Union authorisations from Member States. Mr. van de Plassche expects the BPC’s workload to increase significantly, especially given that the deadline for completion of the active substance Review Programme is 2024.
Looking to the future, the key topics for the BPC identified by Mr. van de Plassche for active substances included performing risk assessment for substances identified as endocrine disruptors, the need to assess all the exclusion criteria for substances at renewal, and the analysis of alternatives to substances that meet the exclusion criteria. For Union Authorisation (UA), important areas include the improvement of the quality of the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC), the need for reduced complexity of Biocidal Product Families (BPF), and upcoming discussions on disinfection byproducts and chlorate in biocidal products containing active chorine as an active substance.
Information on the current status of all the active substances in the Review Programme is included in Kerona Scientific’s BPR Vademecum, the handy guide to all aspects of the BPR. A newly updated digital version is now available from our website at the following link: https://bit.ly/3BM5Uem