Check your product is regulated as a biocidal product

1. Overview

Biocidal products are controlled in:

  • Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) under the GB Biocidal Products Regulation (GB BPR)
  • Northern Ireland under the EU Biocidal Products Regulation (EU BPR)

These regulations control:

  • biocidal products that control harmful or unwanted organisms through a chemical or biological action
  • products that control or stop the organism's harmful action - repellents are an example of biocidal products that do not kill

They do not control products that work only by physical means – such as fly swats, UV fly killers and sticky boards for rodents.

Biocidal products regulated under other legislation

The definition of a biocidal product is quite broad. Some types of biocidal product have other more specific legislation that applies to them in the UK and may be exempt from BPR. For example:

  • products to control algae, snails and slugs to protect trees and plants from damage may be regulated as plant protection products
  • products to disinfect human skin before an operation, to treat disease or anti-lice shampoo may be regulated as human medicines
  • products applied to animals to kill things such as fleas and ticks may be regulated as veterinary medicines
  • products to disinfect equipment used in the prevention, diagnosis or treatment of illness or disease may be regulated as medical devices - for example, disinfectant wipes used on stethoscopes
  • other products applied to human skin may be regulated as cosmetics - for example anti-dandruff shampoo

A full list of the exempting law is given in Article 2 of GB and EU BPR.

If you think your product is regulated by any of the exempting law, you need to check with the relevant authority for that law for confirmation.

Products with more than one use

Where a product has dual use, for example as a biocidal product to kill insects in the home and as a plant protection product to kill insects on garden plants, then the requirements of both sets of law (biocidal and plant protection regulations) will apply.

Food stuff as a biocidal product

If food stuff is supplied with the intention that it will repel or attract flies, insects or rodents to a trap, it will be a biocidal product. For example, if you supply a wasp trap pre-baited with jam, you are supplying a biocidal product.

If you just sell the wasp trap and the user buys the jam from the supermarket, there is no supply of a biocidal product.

Non-biocidal use of products and active substances

GB BPR and EU BPR exclude products and active substances not used for biocidal purposes. This is where a known active substance is used in other products but not for biocidal purposes. For example the use of an essential oil as a fragrance rather than as an insect repellent.

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Updated 2021-11-08