The European Coalition to End Animal Experiments (ECEAE), for which the BUAV is Secretariat and the UK member group, has been granted a stakeholder seat at the European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) new committee called the Biocides Products Committee (BPC) and attended the first meeting in Helsinki this week.
The BPC was established in March this year and will have an important role in the approval of biocidal products under the new Biocidal Products Regulation, which will come into force on the 1st of September 2013. The BPC will meet five times a year at the ECHA in Helsinki and has already started work on the procedures and priorities for future work in preparation for the new regulation.
Biocides are substances that can destroy or control the effect of any harmful organism and are widely used in medicine, agriculture and industry. Examples of commonly used biocides include disinfectants, preservatives and insecticides. Because biocides are intended to kill living organisms, it is thought that they may pose risks to human health. Unfortunately, animal tests are often used to assess these risks and to establish the safety of biocidal products for human users.
The BUAV with our colleagues in the ECEAE, however, will be working to save as many animals as we can by attending future BPC meetings to verify that animal tests are used only as a last resort and that existing data (where products have already been tested) is shared in order to avoid the need for new animal tests. Both of these provisions are set out in the new Biocidal Products Regulation and our aim is to ensure that they are enforced.