24 October 2022The European Chemical Agency's Biocidal Product Committee (BPC) recently decided that iodine and PVP-iodine meet the criteria to be considered endocrine disruptors (EDCs). The BPC's opinion was limited to evaluating the substances' inherent properties. It did not make allowances for the fact that iodine is a naturally occurring substance and an essential nutrient in human nutrition. It also did not assess the risks actually posed by using these substances in biocidal products.
The BPC's opinion does not mean that these substances will no longer be approved for use as biocides. EDCs can still be approved on the basis that one of the grounds for derogation in the Biocidal Product Regulation are met. Such grounds include for example: socio-economic reasons justifying the use of the substance; or uses presenting only a negligible risk.
The European Commission has indicated that the next steps may involve the BPC being asked to give another opinion in order to evaluate risk, a consultation and assessment on the availability of suitable alternatives, and an assessment on whether the grounds for derogation are met. It could therefore potentially take longer before the final outcome of the authorities' review of iodine and PVP-iodine is known.
The Iodine Registration Group (IRG), which comprises a group of manufacturers of iodine and PVP-iodine, is actively defending biocidal uses of iodine in the ongoing review. IRG is confident that these substances can still be approved based on a derogation, bearing in mind their risk profile and the importance of their use in various biocidal applications.
This opinion only affects iodine-based products within the European Union. It does not affect iodine-based products in the UK and neither does it affect VMD teat dips.
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