Biocides are used to control organisms that are harmful to human or animal health. They are toxic to the organisms they are used to control, so they may also be harmful to other organisms when released into the environment. Therefore an authorisation procedure has been introduced for biocides. Restrictions on the use of biocidal products can be issued in conjunction with an authorisation decision in order to prevent adverse environmental and health effects caused by chemicals.
In Finland prior authorisation procedures have for some time already covered certain biocidal product types, such as wood preservatives and slimicides, with restrictions on their use already in place.
The authorisation procedure for antifouling products was launched in 2002. The environmental and health impacts of antifouling products on the market have been assessed and restrictions on their use have been set.
Other biocides – totalling 22 different product types − will be included in the authorisation procedure gradually over the next few years.