Safe and sustainable use of biocides

Biocides, i.e. antifouling agents, are used for controlling organisms that are harmful to human and animal health or human activities. They are used in disinfectants, for example. Biocides are toxic not only to the organisms they are intended to control, they can be harmful also to other organisms when released to the environment and pose risks to human and animal health when used. Some biocides can bioaccumulate in the environment or migrate from the soil to water basins.

In the authorisation decision of a biocidal product, the product is approved only for controlling certain organisms in locations where the product can be used effectively and safely. Restrictions on the use of the products aim to prevent unnecessary use of biocides, as well as environmental and health hazards resulting from their use.  

Restrictions have been set on the use of products such as
•    some wood preservatives
•    rodenticides
•    antifouling products for ships and boats.

Approved uses, use restrictions and instructions for safe use can be found from the product packaging and the summary of product characteristics.

For biocidal products that cause the most serious hazards, i.e. products containing active substances that are identified as candidates for substitution, Tukes completes a comparative assessment when processing the authorisation application. If multiple products are available for the same purpose, only the one causing the least risks will be approved.  

Many essential activities for our society, such as access to clean drinking water and hospital hygiene, are based on the availability and use of biocides.  Also antimicrobial substances used in industrial processes, products preventing construction materials from deteriorating or rotting, biocides used in food production, as well as pesticides, for example, are important.

Biocides with different characteristics and effects are needed for controlling different types of harmful organisms in various conditions. Products including different active substances also prevent the controlled organism from evolving and becoming resistant, i.e. immune, against the pesticide.

Use biocides safely and sustainably

Your actions can prevent harmful organisms from spreading
Consider whether it is necessary to use a biocide or whether you could use alternative methods of control.

Only use biocidal products that have been approved in Finland
Authorisation procedures are not yet applied to all biocidal products.

Is the intended purpose listed on the sales packaging of the biocide?
If not, do not use the product.

Check the application method and doses
Follow the instructions on the sales packaging. The information given on the packaging must be in Finnish and Swedish.

Ensure proper protection according to the instructions

Leave it to the professionals
If the use of hazardous biocides is restricted only to professionals or requires a special qualification, leave the disinfestation to professionals. Use of these products requires experience in safe procedures and proper use.

Dispose of any excess biocide and its packaging according to the instructions given on the sales packaging.

Find information on biocides contained in articles and products