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
    • that chemical or biological action does not need to be directly acting on the harmful organism. A product with a chemical or biological action that forms part of a chain that leads to the control of the organism can be in scope, even if the final direct action against the organism itself is physical.
  • 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.

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 - HSE cannot advise on the scope of these other pieces of law.

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 2024-03-19