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Environmental monitoring of biocides in Europe - compartment-specific strategies

25-26 June 2015, Berlin, Germany


Since September 2013 the assessment and authorisation of biocides on the European market have been regulated by the EU Biocidal Products Regulation No. 528/2012 (BPR). Environ-mental monitoring can help to assess changes caused by the implementation of the new legislation and in particular the decrease of emissions of certain active substances due to the withdrawn from the market or application of mitigation measures. On the other hand, environmental levels of other biocides may rise as a result of replacement for non-approved compounds. 

In this context and as a follow-up to the first joint workshop in November 2012, the German Federal Environment Agency took the initiative to organise this international event in collaboration with the NORMAN network, to discuss the role of environmental monitoring in assessing the consequences of the EU biocides regulation, with a specific focus on compartment-specific monitoring strategies. Many different entry pathways to the environment exist because of the many different uses of biocides. Dedicated sessions were organised to cover monitoring of biocides in urban environments, in surface waters and in terrestrial ecosystems.

As first conclusions of the workshop the following points can be highlighted:

  • Biocides can be found in relevant concentrations in the environment; some are known to be used in large amounts.
  • Many single findings prove that the use of biocides can cause environmental burdens.
  • Only for a minority of biocidal active substances monitoring data are available; about 60% of the prioritised biocides are currently not appropriately monitored. Improvement of analytical methods for the detection of many biocides is needed.
  • Monitoring can contribute to the identification of sources of contamination
    (e.g. STP effluents, stormwater, etc.).
  • Data of production volumes and use amounts of biocides are lacking. There is a need for additional reporting requirements or legislation, similar to the Plant Protection Product Regulation concerning statistics on pesticides.
  • Cooperation between stakeholders (e.g. Water Framework Directive, Biocide Regulation) with regard to existing monitoring programmes should be intensified.

This workshop was part of a research and development project funded by the German Federal Environment Agency. The main objective of the project is the validation of a prioritisation concept for biocides and the implementation of a specific biocides monitoring programme for Germany, which could be extended to other European countries. The final results of this project will be available by the end of 2015.