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One-third of products claimed to be treated with biocides have incorrect labelling

ECHA/NR/20/43

36 % of checked treated articles were found to be non-compliant with labelling requirements under the Biocidal Products Regulation.

Helsinki, 16 December 2020 – The first coordinated enforcement project on biocides (BEF-1) run by the BPR Subgroup of the Forum (BPRS) focused on checking obligations for treated articles in 2019.

National enforcement authorities in 22 Member States inspected almost 1 200 companies and checked more than 1 800 treated articles including clothing, paints, bedding and chemical mixtures. 73 % of the treated articles were produced in the EU.

In 36 % of cases, the quality of information provided on the labels of the treated articles was inadequate. For 42 % of articles and 23 % of mixtures, basic information, such as the name of the biocidal active substance used for treatment of the product was missing.

National languages were used on the labels in 83 % of the cases as required, but this rate varied across different Member States, and was significantly lower for languages other than English, French or German.

Inspectors also checked whether the biocidal products used to treat the articles contained active substances that were allowed in the EU. According to the self-declaration of the producers, this duty was well fulfilled with less than 2.5 % of inspected products found to contain an illegal active substance.

Where companies were found to have breached the labelling requirements under the BPR, inspectors have taken measures to bring them into compliance – most frequently through verbal and written advice to correct the labelling information.

Several Member States reported that the articles inspected were marketed with biocidal property claims, but were found to not be treated with biocides at all. Some companies even removed the biocidal claims during the inspection to avoid the related legal requirements under the BPR.

The findings of the project indicate that companies need to increase their knowledge about their responsibilities for treated articles and intensify their efforts to improve the overall quality of labelling, especially for articles treated with biocidal products.


Background

Treated articles are substances, mixtures or articles that are treated with a biocidal product. The aim is to protect the articles from harmful organisms like pests, mold and bacteria: for example, to make sportswear odourless or preserve paint from microbial contamination. Since 2017, articles can only be treated with biocidal products that contain active substances that are allowed to be used in the EU (see Article 58 of the BPR).

Any treated article with a biocidal claim must also contain a label. This label must contain information about the biocidal active substance included in the biocidal product that has been used to treat the article. It is mainly a duty of manufacturers and importers to label their treated articles. A treated article with a primary biocidal function is considered a biocidal product and therefore subject to authorisation under the BPR.

The inspections reported in this study were carried out in 2019, with the reporting phase in 2020.


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