Module 2: Biocidal Products
Unit 3: Measures to Address Risks posed by the Use of Biocidal Products

Legislative framework

The purpose of the Biocidal Product Regulation (BPR) is to improve free movement of BPs within the EU while ensuring a high level of protection of human health, animal health and the environment.
Protection of human health involves (a) safety at the workplace, and (b) consumer protection. Particular attention should be paid to vulnerable groups. These include pregnant and nursing women, the unborn, infants and children, the elderly and, when subject to high exposure to biocidal products over the long term, workers and residents.

How is high level of human health protection achieved?

  • Precautionary Principle
  • Sustainable use of biocidal product application
How is high level of human health protection achieved?
Identify and control hazards and risks associated with the use of BPs

Safety at the workplace

1. Safety in pest control operations

  1. Notify consumers and persons in specific areas such as schools, workplaces, kindergardens, public spaces, geriatric care centres or in the vicinity of surface water or groundwater about planned BP applications
  2. Consider BP label for application rate, type & procedure of application, personal protective equipment, risks on human/animal health and the environment, precautionary measures etc
  3. Follow specific measures for maintenance of application equipment and PPE
  4. Follow specific measures to prevent BP spills & accidents during application

Specific measures should be taken to ensure the protection of vulnerable groups.

What is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

PPE is any device or appliance designed to be worn or held by an individual for protection against one or more health and safety hazards.
The different categories of PPE are defined in Directive 89/686/EEC. PPE Category III is considered appropriate for use in pest control activities. However, the specific technical properties and the performance of each PPE are given in CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) and ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) standards.

Additional levels of protection may be offered by the use of gloves, dust/mist/vapour masks, rubber boots, face shields, hats, apron etc. as recommended by the BP label and SDS. Proper use and maintenance of PPE is essential to maximize the level of protection as indicated by the manufacturer.

Other considerations to minimize human health risks from pest control operations may include:

  • Methods to repair, maintain, and clean application equipment
  • Measures to prevent BP spills & accidents during application and methods to clean up BP leaks and spills
  • Specific instructions for re-entry to treated areas
  • Measures to reduce BP residues on different surfaces
  • BP odour as an indirect protective measure against human (worker and bystander/resident) and animal exposure
  • BP application and dilution rates

Overexposure to applied BP is not anticipated when professional practices are followed in pest control operations!!!
However, in the event of an accident emergency actions should be taken, such as:

  • Follow general first-aid procedures for humans and animals
  • Contact the National Poisons Unit
  • Contact the fire brigade in the event of fire
  • Provide specific instructions to the physician/hospital/poisons unit and the fire brigade as required and in line with the BP label and SDS
The BPR applies without prejudice to Union legislation on safety in the workplace
Every government within the EU takes a different approach
What specific measures could be taken for the protection of vulnerable groups?
Today the text on pesticide label with regard to protective clothing is not specific enough.
What to wear when there is no information on the label with regard to PPE?
What to wear when the label proposes the use of suitable, appropriate or adequate PPE?
What to wear when the label recommends the use of impermeable PPE?
What are the general conducts in case on an emergency?
What are the first-aid measures that should be followed in the event of human poisoning?

Safety at the workplace

2. Safe working practices for storing, transporting, handling and mixing BP

Specific procedures for storing, transporting, handling and mixing BPs should be followed as indicated in the BP label and SDS.

As general measures, BPs should be kept locked up and out of reach of children, in specific locations with the emergency phone numbers handy.

The spray mixture should be prepared at the application site so as to avoid transporting on public roads.

Safe transporting of BPs is governed by legislation and general rules on transport of hazardous goods by road.

Key question:

What are the specific procedures for safe storage of BPs?

Safety at the workplace

3. Safe disposal of empty packaging

Wastes are materials that come into contact with the product as commercially available or with the diluted formulation, e.g.

  • washings of spraying equipment,
  • PPE (eg plastic gloves, coveralls, etc.)
  • BP containers

Experience from pesticides for managing empty containers (FAO / WHO Guidelines on Management Options for Empty Pesticide Containers, 2008)

  1. Read the Label
  2. Clean empty containers
  3. Let the empty containers drain & dry
  4. Puncture or crash the container to prevent re-use
  5. Dispose at the place of use for recycling
Wastes from the use of BPs are considered toxic and dangerous and should be managed accordingly.
What is the procedure for cleaning empty BP containers with safety?

Useful links

All images come from the personal archive of Dr. A. Michaelakis (BPI), Prof. Ch. Athanassiou (University of Thessaly) and B. Sotiroudas (SEAME) and the website of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) [ (free of copyrights)]
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This communication (website) reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.