Contents

  1. What is a biocide?
  2. What is a pesticide?
  3. As a layperson, which biocides can I use?
  4. Where can I buy biocides?
  5. What are the risks associated with biocides?
  6. Who can I contact if I have questions regarding biocides?
  7. Does a private individual who uses a closed circuit biocide for his or her swimming pool need to register?
  8. Do I need to register if I use a biocide?

Other useful information: plant protection products - see www.fytoweb.be

For professionals: FAQ  professionals

For the closed circuit: see FAQ  professionals or page "Closed circuit"

 1. What is a biocide?

A biocide is a pesticide with the intention of destroying, deterring, rendering harmless, preventing the action of, or otherwise exerting a controlling effect on, any harmful organism by a chemical or biological action using active substances or preparations (containing one or more active substances) and presented in the form in which they are supplied to the user.

Some examples of biocides which can be found in the home: antibacterial soap, disinfectant for the kitchen, an insecticide against ants, flies, anti-rodent pellets, bleach, etc.

Often, reading the label on a product is sufficient to realise that it is a biocide. Indications such as "Destroys bacteria", "Disinfectant", "Destroys germs", "disinfects", etc., imply a biocidal action.

All biocides must be authorised by the Federal Minister for the Environment in order to be placed on the market.

Biocides all present a significant risk to our health to a certain degree - in particular that of pregnant women and children - and for our environment. That is why, if you need to use a biocide, bear in mind that you should use it with extreme caution. Pay special attention to children and other people in the vicinity, and follow the safety precautions meticulously, even before the purchase of the biocide. 

2. What is a pesticide?

A pesticide is a generic term which groups together biocides and plant protection products. All pesticides must have an authorisation granted by the Federal authorities in order to be placed on the Belgian market. For biocides: see list of authorised biocides

PPPs are products used for the protection of plants: se the website "fytoweb".

For more information: see the section "Pesticide"

3. As a layperson, which biocides can I use?

In Belgium, biocides must always have an authorisation from the Federal Minister for the Environment before they can be placed on the Belgian market by a company. An indication of this authorisation must always be visible on the label, in the form of a XXXXB number or BE 20XX-XXXX or XX/IP or NOTIFXXX. A number ending in B or BE or IP indicates that the biocide has been assessed on various important parameters including its efficacy and its toxicity. A NOTIF number means that this is a product with less harmful properties which does not require a detailed scientific assessment.

4. Where can I buy biocides?

It depends on what you need, and whether the targeted problem is mosquitoes, flies, wasps, mites, mice, disinfection of kitchen work surfaces, disinfection of swimming pool water, wood protection varnish, anti-algae products, anti-stain products for boat hulls, etc.

With such variety of targets and biocides, they can be found in all kinds of shops. Anti-stain products for boats are found in more specialised shops whereas insecticides or disinfectants are available in just about every supermarket, DIY stores and even pharmacies.

Furthermore, there are biocides which pose a non-negligible risk to the user (toxic, very toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic). These biocides are identified as class A biocides and are reserved exclusively for professionals following very strict approval rules for use, and who are registered as sellers. Consequently, class A biocides cannot be freely sold to private individuals. They must also be stored in a special, secured storage room (which is locked and shows a hazard pictogram indicating the risk). Exercise caution when you buy biocides and consult our site before any purchase, in particular the section "precautions for use".

From 2016 onwards, the system of class A biocides will be replaced by a new system: the "closed circuit".

5. What are the risks associated with biocides?

Before using a biocide, you should be fully aware of the risks you may incur, as well as people in your vicinity, especially children. The risks are clearly indicated on the label in the form of pictograms and hazard indications.  You will also find instructions for use which limits the risk, and a note is often attached which contains precise instructions.

If you correctly adhere to all the rules, you can use biocides in complete awareness and control of the risks. For more information concerning the precautions for use, consult the chapter "sustainable use" - "precautions for use".

6. Who can I contact if I have questions regarding biocides?

info.biocides@environnement.belgique.be

 or the Contact Centre 02/524 97 97

7. Does a private individual who uses a closed circuit biocide for his or her swimming pool need to register?

No, the authorisation report for closed circuit biocides for swimming pools will specify this derogation, namely that registration is not obligatory for private individuals who use closed circuit bioces for their private swimming pool. For information: registration on the site is possible on the FPS site since end of 2016, but remains non-obligatory.

8. Do I need to register if I use a biocides?

Registration only concerns biocides which fall under the closed circuit. The closed circuit groups together biocides which pose a significant risk to health. To identify biocides which fall under the closed circuit, consult the interactive list of authorised biocides on our website and select the closed circuit biocides via the filter.

If you need to use closed circuit biocides, consult the "Closed circuit" page on our website.