German chemical firms urge EU to simplify biocide rules

21 September 2010 16:13  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--Germany’s chemical industry wants the EU to significantly simplify its directive on permitting biocides in the €1.5bn ($2.0bn) EU market, an industry group said on Tuesday.

Frankfurt-based Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI) said it was pressing, in particular, for a common permitting process that would apply throughout the 27-member EU.

VCI said that since the existing EU biocides directive came into effect in 2000, about two thirds of biocide products had “disappeared from the market” and “practically no new biocides” had been permitted as many firms stopped producing their substance because of the costly permitting rules.

One of the existing directive’s weak points was that it did not harmonise procedures for testing and permitting biocides within the EU, leading to protracted negotiations between different national authorities, VCI said.

Under the directive, the preparation of the necessary documentation for a biocide substance cost €3m-€5m, it added.

But VCI added it welcomed proposals by the EU Commission and the EU Parliament in Strasbourg to revise the directive to allow for a common permitting procedure.

However, even under those proposals, common EU permitting would only come into force in 2017, which was much too late, the trade group said.

“We need immediate improvements and cannot wait seven years,” said Gerd Romanowski, general manager of VCI’s science, technology and environmental portfolio.

Also, the EU needed to ensure that countries would have available a full range of biocides in order to maintain high health and hygiene standards, he said.

VCI represents some 1,650 Germany-based chemical firms.

($1 = €0.76)

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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