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Approval of Commodity Substances - An Introduction

Commodity substances are chemicals which have a variety of non-pesticide uses as well as minor uses as pesticides. If such a substance is to be used as a pesticide, it requires approval under the Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR), and is granted approval for use only.

Sale, supply, storage and advertisement of a commodity substance as a pesticide is an offence unless specific approval has been granted for the substance to be marketed as a pesticide under an approved label. Anyone wishing to sell, supply, store or advertise any of these substances specifically as pesticides has to seek specific approval under COPR.

Information about the status of commodity substances for plant protection and biocidal uses are given below. The approval schedule detailing the conditions of use which a user must follow when using the commodity substance can be viewed by clicking on the substance name.

Plant Protection Uses

Currently approved commodity substances

The following substances were added to Annex I of Directive 91/414/EEC via Commission Directive 2008/127/EC. New EU legislation for plant protection products (Regulation (EC) No. 1107/2009) replaced Directive 91/414/EEC from 14 June 2011. These substances have since been transferred to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011, which implements Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 regarding the list of approved active substances.

Article 23 of Regulation (EC) No. 1107/2009 introduces harmonised arrangements for approval of commodity substances, which are known as ‘basic substances’ in the EU regime. We will issue further advice on the possible approval of these commodity substances as basic substances when they are reviewed / renewed.

Table Showing Currently Approved Commodity Substances
Substance Use Approved until

Carbon dioxide

Insecticide, acaricide and rodenticide in food storage practice

31 August 2021


Plant growth regulator in food storage practice

31 August 2022

Potassium Hydrogen Carbonate (Bicarbonate)

Horticultural fungicide on protected and outdoor crops

31 August 2021


Forestry fungicide on cut tree stumps

31 August 2021

Table Showing Expired Commodity Substance Approvals
Substance Use Expiry date


Agricultural/horticultural fungicide/sterilant

22 December 2008

Peroxyacetic (peracetic) acid

Agricultural fungicide/nematicide/disinfectant

31 December 2010

Sodium Chloride

Agricultural herbicide

31 December 2004

Sulphuric acid

Agricultural desiccant

5 June 2010

Biocidal Uses

Currently approved commodity/basic substances

Under the Biocidal Products Regulations these substances are now referred to as ‘basic substances’.

Table Showing Currently Approved Basic Substances
Substance Use Approved until / link to approval on HSE website

Carbon dioxide


No COPR approval see HSE website

Expired Commodity/Basic Substance Approvals
Substance Use Expiry date


28 February 2011

Carbon dioxide

Vertebrate control

31 October 2009

Ethyl acetate

insecticide in museums etc.

28 February 2011


preservative/fungicide on specimens in museums etc.

28 February 2011

Liquid nitrogen

acaricide to control dust mites on furnishings in domestic and public hygiene

28 February 2011

Paraffin oil

Vertebrate control on bird eggs

COPR no longer applies


insecticide to control flying and crawling insects on textiles

28 February 2011


fungicide in museums etc.

28 February 2011

White spirit

insecticide to control flying and crawling insects on textiles in museums etc.

28 February 2011

Further Information

Control of Pesticides Regulations (COPR)

For up-to-date information on biocide uses see the Biocides website.

Updated 2021-01-06