- Getting ready for the Biocidal Products Regulation
- World of biocides brought up to date
- Steering the work to make the new biocides regulation a success
- From our stakeholders: "Support for small enterprises is crucial"
- Setting up national biocides helpdesks
- New online tools for biocides applications
- Raising awareness on the new Biocidal Products Regulation
- Working together for better communication on the safe use of chemicals
- What to do when receiving an extended safety data sheet?
- Working towards the REACH dossier evaluation goal
- Setting the scene for applications for authorisation
- Board of Appeal members' term in office prolonged
- Guest column: Reflections on the review of REACH
- Making use of derived no-effect levels generated under REACH
- Call for creative ideas to overcome REACH challenges
- Croatia joins the EU chemicals management framework
- Debating chemicals policy
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Article related to: Biocides
Setting up national biocides helpdesks
The new Biocidal Products Regulation requires that the Member State competent authorities provide advice to all interested parties about their responsibilities and obligations under the regulation. To this end, many competent authorities are establishing a national helpdesk, which ECHA will support. ECHA Newsletter interviewed helpdesk representatives from Finland, the Netherlands and Slovenia to learn how these countries are building up their service to the biocides industry.
Creating a common understanding
The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency, Tukes, is aiming to have the necessary support ready when the Biocidal Products Regulation enters into operation.
Mr Hannu Mattila, planner of biocides activities, tells that the biocides group in Tukes has been working hard to create a common understanding on the regulation and the tasks it brings to them. "The regular meetings that the biocides group started to have already last year are an example of our preparations. In each meeting, one person was responsible for presenting a certain part of the Biocidal Products Regulation to the rest of the group and after that the topic was discussed together," he says.
As the National competent authority in Finland, Tukes is responsible for implementing and enforcing the regulation as well as organising the helpdesk services. "We started the preparations for the biocides helpdesk already over a year ago," Mr Mattila says.
Tukes has been responsible for the national REACH and CLP helpdesk in Finland and therefore has experience with helpdesk work. Providing support for companies on questions related to biocides is not a new task either, since they have already been supporting companies under the Biocidal Products Directive. However, some improvements compared with the service provided today will be made.
"When the regulation enters into operation, the biocides helpdesk will get its own telephone number, which will be dedicated only to questions related to biocides. We will also launch a webform which will be used for biocides questions. With the help of this new system, we can better coordinate our answers and monitor that all the questions are answered within a set timeframe."
Tukes' REACH and CLP helpdesk website is currently under construction and will be updated to include information about the biocides helpdesk services. New information related to the Biocidal Products Regulation will also be added.
"To keep our customers up-to-date on the latest news, we also publish an electronic newsletter about biocides four times a year both in Finnish and English. This way the customers can keep themselves informed even if they do not visit our website regularly," Mr Mattila adds.
Along with the regulation, the cooperation with ECHA has become more frequent. "We are participating in different committees and working groups organised by ECHA. Among other things, we have recently been part of a working group who contributed to the categorisation of biocides questions and answers for the HelpEx tool that will be used by the national biocides helpdesks," Mr Mattila explains.
Expanding the sphere
The Dutch Board for the Authorisation of Plant Protection Products and Biocides (Ctgb) has had a biocides helpdesk already for the national scheme and the biocides directive.
"Now, we are modifying our system so that it comes into connection with ECHA's helpdesk. We will no longer be communicating only to Dutch companies who are interested in authorising their biocides in the Netherlands, but exchanging and sharing information with other countries through the IT platform HelpEx, which aims to coordinate and harmonise helpdesk responses throughout the different national helpdesks," says Jan Willem Andriessen from the Ctgb.
|Jan Willem Andriessen.|
At present, the Dutch helpdesk has three staff covering questions for both biocides and plant protection products. "We are expecting a lot of questions on treated articles, and on which legislation to apply. People are already used to the national scheme, but are now asking what the new biocides regulation will mean for their business, their authorisations and applications. Certainly, new opportunities, such as Union authorisation, will raise questions."
The Dutch biocides helpdesk is separate from the REACH and CLP helpdesks, but the two have a good collaboration. "We are cooperating together in the HelpNet work. Overall, our perspective is different due to the differing natures of the two legislations. REACH and CLP obligations apply to most established chemicals manufacturers whereas biocidal products are not allowed on the market until they have been authorised. We need to take this different approach into account," Mr Andriessen says.
95 % of the Dutch biocides market consists of SMEs. For them, informing about the changes is important. "The BPR is not designed for SMEs, and it will be a challenge to keep SMEs on board," Mr Andriessen predicts.
To support the companies, the Ctgb not only replies to questions through the helpdesk but also issues bimonthly newsletters on biocides. A website update is expected by the end of the year to reflect the changes in the regulation. According to Mr Andriessen, they are ready for 1 September. "Good cooperation between ECHA and the authorities is required. We need to keep the lines short, so that we are able to call or email each other when necessary," he concludes.
Ms Marta Pavlič-Čuk from the Chemicals Office of the Republic of Slovenia (CORS) says that her office is now preparing for the new biocides regulation. The Slovenian authority has, since 1998, provided assistance to companies under the national notification scheme.
"We help companies via email and phone. In specific cases, when the issue is complex or the company representatives wish to show us their documentation, we invite them to visit us," Ms Pavlič-Čuk says.
The helpdesk has regular contacts with the national chamber of commerce. "Generally, once a year, we hold a workshop for our stakeholders. We have one coming in October this year. These workshops are especially targeted at producers and distributors," she says. For general information needs, the authority e.g. maintains a website, produces leaflets, holds press conferences and conducts research.
Ms Pavlič-Čuk says that the regulation is demanding for small companies. "In Slovenia, we have a lot of distributors that are SMEs. Sometimes, the small players are not fully aware of their obligations and might face exclusion from the market if they fail to fulfil their duties."
She expects that companies will send in a lot of questions regarding the status of their application after 1 September. "The classification according to the CLP regulation that kicks in in 2015 will also create questions," she concludes.
Interviews by Hanna-Kaisa Torkkeli and Päivi Jokiniemi
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Committee for Risk Assessment:
Committee for Socio-Economic
Biocidal Products Committee:
Member State Committee:
4-8 February (tentative)
Management Board meeting: