Market Insights 3 min read

ECHA Publishes Guidance on Biocidally Treated Articles

Dec 13, 2018 ECHA Publishes Guidance on Biocidally Treated Articles

cans-colour-containers-1327216ECHA has published brief guidance[1] on how to understand and comply with the requirements of the Biocidal Products Regulation[2] (BPR) with regard to treated articles. The guidance covers:

  • what is/is not a treated article;
  • categorization of treated articles;
  • how treated articles should be labelled;
  • timing of requirements covering placing on the market of treated article and their labeling;
  • the right of consumers to information on the biocidal treatment of a treated article.

In general this is all very helpful but there is risk of confusion over the term “treated article”. The guidance explains that “Articles that have been treated with a biocide do not need authorization, but they can only be placed on the EU market when the active substance in the biocide has been approved for the specific use.” The guidance provides several examples of a treated article. However, for those familiar with the REACH (or CLP) regulation it might come as a surprise to find “paint containing an in-can preservative” given as an example of a treated article. In REACH, an “article” is defined as “an object which during production is given a special shape, surface or design which determines its function to a greater degree than its chemical composition”. This definition would certainly not apply to a can of paint. This would be described by REACH as a mixture (the paint) in a container (the can – itself being an article). However, BPR defines a “treated article” as “any substance, mixture or article which has been treated with, or intentionally incorporates, one or more biocidal products” [3]. So REACH and BPR use the word article quite differently.

This is unnecessarily misleading and could cause misinterpretation of requirements. In the case of their example, the can of paint, the preservative would need to have been approved or be under review, and the can labelled in accordance with Article 58(3).

Finally, ECHA states that it intends to carry out an EU harmonized enforcement project focusing on treated articles in 2019.

[1] What you need to know about treated articles, ECHA, 12 Dec 2018.

[2] Regulation (EU) No. 528/2012.

[3] Article 3(1)(l).