New regulation regarding restrictions on use and labelling of biocidal products to control algae and moss from 1 December 2020
Preventing the leaching of biocidal active substances
The new regulations only affect biocidal products to control algae and moss that are used as algaecides for remedial treatment of construction materials (belonging to product type 2), and those that are used to protect or preserve masonry or construction materials other than wood by the control of microbiological and algal attack (belonging to product type 10). The ban on the use of these biocidal products on paved surfaces, such as roofs, terraces, roads, paths and squares is necessary as the biocidal active substances are easily leached from such surfaces by rainwater and are washed away with meteoric water. They can then end up in surface water via sewage systems and wastewater treatment plants.
Closing the loophole regarding ban on weed killers
Because a similar ban on the use of weed killers (a category of plant protection products) has been in place since 2001, the regulations for these two product categories needed to be harmonised. This is a step forward in reducing the pollution of groundwater and surface water from these areas of use. The new regulations make it easier for consumers and for cantonal enforcement authorities as the same prohibitions apply to both weed killers and biocidal products.
Annex 2.4 no. 4bis ORRChem
Annex 2.4 to the Chemical Risk Reduction Ordinance, which sets out the prohibitions and exemptions with regard to biocidal products, has been extended to include no. 4bis (ORRChem, SR 814.81). The Federal Council passed this amendment to the ORRChem on 17 April 2019. In accordance with the amending regulation, Annex 2.4 no. 4bis will enter into force on 1 December 2020.
According to the definition under no. 4bis.1, only biocidal products to control algae and moss that are used as algaecides for remedial treatment of construction materials (belonging to product type 2), and those that are intended to protect or preserve masonry or construction materials other than wood by the control of microbiological or algal attack (belonging to product type 10) are affected by this new regulation. Applications on facades and as algaecides in indoor areas are still permitted.
Implications for authorisation holders
Authorisation holders for biocidal products that may potentially be affected must ensure, from 1 December 2020, that none of the prohibited use areas are listed on the label, that labels are marked in accordance with number 4bis.3 ‘special labelling’, and that product documentation (e.g. leaflets etc.) is updated where necessary.
If a biocidal product is exclusively intended for one or more of the uses that are now banned, the product may no longer be sold from 1 December 2020. There will be no stock clearance periods as the product may no longer be marketed when the new provision of the ORRChem enters into force on 1 December 2020. In some cases, authorisation holders may be able to apply for a modification of the intended uses.
If not all the intended uses are affected, authorisation holders are required to remove the newly prohibited uses from the label and from the product documentation, and label the products in line with the new requirements. In such cases, authorisation holders do not need to submit any new documents. From 1 December 2020, the product may only be marketed with the new labelling. This means that products with the old labelling may no longer be placed on the market or sold to end users from this date.
If you have questions on applications for modifications or deadlines, please contact the Notification Authority (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have questions on the new provisions, please contact the Federal Office for the Environment (Biocides and Plant Protection Products Section, email@example.com)