Is this product safe to use

Brief info on biocides

What is the problem?

Biocides are used to kill or repel harmful organisms. For example, they work by paralyzing the nervous system or impairing the ability of harmful organisms to reproduce. This also makes them potentially dangerous for people and the environment. Due to their risks, biocidal products may only be placed on the market if they have been approved by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

A large number of products containing biocides are used in private households, in some cases without the consumers being aware of this. The products include, for example, wood preservatives, insect sprays, ant poison, rat and mouse repellants, wall paints for the bathroom or kitchen that prevent mold growth, antibacterial household cleaners, but also carpets that have been treated with biocides to prevent moth and beetle infestation.

Biocides are also increasingly being used for the antibacterial treatment of everyday objects. For example, textiles worn close to the body, such as sports and leisure clothing, are equipped with silver, isothiazolines or triclosan with the aim of counteracting the formation of odors through the bacterial decomposition of sweat. Unpleasant consequences can be allergic reactions, impairment of the skin's own bacterial flora, which is important for skin health, and the development of resistance to pathogens. In addition, during the washing process, the leaching of the biocidal active ingredients can lead to their increased entry into the environment. The use of biocidal products can often be dispensed with, which is clear from the example of biocide-treated sports and leisure clothing. Regular washing of clothes also counteracts the build-up of odors. In biocide law, the legislator has also set itself the goal of using approved biocidal products as little as possible. The Federal Government is therefore planning to set up an Internet portal that will also provide the public with user-friendly and bundled information about alternatives to the use of biocides.

What can I do myself?

  • The basic rule is: Use biocidal products as little as possible. Check whether alternative measures to prevent or control pests or harmful organisms are available.
  • Avoid antibacterial household chemicals if possible. Disinfectants irritate the skin and respiratory tract and pollute the environment. Unnecessary use also increases the risk of resistance in the medical field.
  • When buying commodities, such as textiles, make sure that they are equipped with biocides and that those without biocides are also available.
  • When buying paints and paints, look for products with the Blue Angel eco-label. Their preservative content is kept to a minimum.
  • Only use wood preservatives in the interior if there is an infestation with living pests. With regard to possible health impairments, especially the skin, such a measure should be carried out by a specialist. When using wood preservatives outdoors, such as painting fences, direct entry into the environment should be avoided, for example by placing tarpaulin under them.
  • Sensitive groups of people such as small children and pregnant women should not be in the rooms concerned during or after the spraying or vaporizing of biocide-containing products. You should also watch out for pets.
  • Follow the instructions for use specified by the manufacturer for combating pests or harmful organisms in order to avoid risks to your own health, uninvolved third parties and the environment. This also applies if a biocidal product has been approved.