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The Biocidal Products Regulations - What You Need to Know

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Alistair Cameron, Managing Director Pyramid Travel ProductsThere are huge changes in the market due to the EU Biocidal Products Regulations 528/2012 (BPR). Our interview with MD & Technical Director, Alistair Cameron tells you everything you need to know….

What is a biocide?

A biocide is any substance that repels, attracts or kills any living organism.

Can you describe what the Biocidal Products Regulations are?

The BPR was introduced to unify the process by which biocides are authorised across the EU, taking this responsibility away from national regulators who had varying standards and methods for determining product safety. The BPR have also been put in place to provide a level of standardisation across countries in the EU. 

What is DEET?

DEET is a very commonly used repellent and is one of the world’s most popular anti-mosquito products. It was originally developed in the 1940s mainly for use in jungle warfare, and it is an organic compound which has a very good effect on interfering with the receptors of a mosquito and stops them biting.

Why does DEET need to be regulated?

As a biocide, DEET is now regulated under the BPR to ensure consistent product safety across the EU. DEET is one of the first products to be regulated, in the next 10-15 years any product that repels, attracts or kills any living organism will come under these regulations.

Have other insect repellent ingredients gone through the regulations yet?

During the initial screening stage a number of products were removed from the European market including citronella and neem oil. Only DEET, Saltidin® (Icaridin) and Citriodiol™ were accepted. The approval process for the latter two will start in the next 2-4 years.

When exactly is the BPR going to come into force for DEET?

We have our product authorisations for DEET. For any products that have not received an approval, they are to be withdrawn from the market by the end of 2016.

How do people know if a product is approved by looking at the packaging? What should people be looking for?

You should look for a BPR authorisation number which begins with the country of origin i.e. UK or IE with a number after that. These can be crossed checked against the database of the European Chemicals Agency or the National Authorities. For all products being phased you should look for a number starting with CoE.

Will people still be able to buy 100% DEET, will 100% DEET still be available on the market?

No, as part of the regulatory process 100% DEET products are now being withdrawn throughout the European market and will no longer be available. DEET repellents over 50% in strength will not be legal for sale in the EU after 2016. Our Trek 100 repellent should be withdrawn from sale from the the 1st of January 2017.

Why are they limiting the concentration / amount of DEET that is available?

There has been some concerns particularly focused around the absorption of DEET into the skin and the affects it may have. The European Chemicals Agency has taken a very conservative view about DEET, for example in the USA 100% DEET is common.

Can DEET still be used on children? Any further restrictions on the use of DEET around children?

Very extensive work has been done by the EU and the manufacturers to ensure that DEET products are safe for children. However, you will see changes in advice on packaging recommending that higher strengths should not be used on young children.

As you say DEET has been used successfully around the world since the 1940’s, in terms of the DEET products that will be available, will they still give effective protection?

Absolutely, technology has come on leaps and bounds. Going back 10 years to 2005, we had products in a range that gave effective protection between 4 and 12 hours. Now in 2016 there are still products on the market that give this, however the way of providing the protection has improved as science has advanced. For example, we now use unique micro-encapsulation technology in many of our formulations, which provides much longer protection for much lower amounts of repellent. This has led to improved product safety and sustainability and that can only be a good thing.

From Pyramid, what DEET products will people still be able to buy once the approvals have gone through?

Well as you know we have gone through a re-branding of the Pyramid range in response to market demand, for a more clearly identifiable range. Our repellents are now called TREK. Our 20%, 50%, and 30% DEET products will still be available as, TREK 20TREK 50 and TREK Ultra respectively. TREK 100 (97% DEET) is to be withdrawn from sale by the 1st of Januray 2017. 

What DEET mosquito repellent would you recommend to customers for high risk areas?

Our Trek Ultra DEET spray has been expertly manufactured here in our factory in Kelso. Our team of chemists discovered an effective way to make this repellent last longer and to be more durable and sweat & splash resistant. Instead of using a higher concentration of DEET to achieve a repellent effect, we have used the latest micro-encapsultaion technology. This technology means the DEET is encased within a shell, allowing the DEET to be released more gradually over the period of wear. A smaller amount of DEET lasts longer on the skin. Trek Ultra uses a 1/3 of the DEET used within Trek 100; 30%, hence it is kinder on the skin. Trek Ultra lasts for up to 12 hours from a single application and can be used on pregnant women and children from the age of 2 years. 


Find out more about our mosquito repellents >

Written by Carolyn


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