Navigating the Future of Biocides:
Insights from the 11th BPR Symposium

Over 60 attendees gathered at the Sheraton Brussels Airport Hotel for the 11th annual ARCHE and pIET Consulting BPR Symposium on 23 March. This marked the first in-person symposium since 2019, providing a platform for representatives from industry partners, legal counsel, laboratories, consultancies, and competent authorities to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the biocides industry.

The symposium featured a range of topics, including the renewal of active substances, the extension of the BPR Review Programme, simplified authorizations for low-risk biocides, biocidal product families, and dossier evaluation. The event also addressed scientific challenges, with multiple speakers from ARCHE Consulting highlighting the changes in physical hazards and efficacy data that underpin each active substance and product dossier.

Speakers included Céline Leroy from the Belgian authority (FPS), Koen Van Maldegem and Gerard McElwee from Fieldfisher, Frederik Verdonck from ARCHE Consulting, Cindy Van der Meer from CTGB, Florian Brill, Agnieszka Bielach from ECOLAB, Baptiste Defrennes from Perrigo, and the soon-to-retire Piet Blancquaert. Each speaker brought valuable insights and expertise to the various topics discussed, showcasing the wide array of knowledge present at the event.

Throughout the day, several presentations took a broad view of active substance and biocidal product authorisations over the past decade(s), providing valuable insights and discussions for the future of the biocides industry as it navigates a rapidly changing regulatory and scientific landscape.

Key messages from the symposium emphasized the dynamic regulatory environment and the uncertainty it poses for the industry, as well as the high demand on authorities' workforce:

  • The extension of the BPR Review Programme, while allowing for full evaluation of un-evaluated AS/PT combinations, may lead to an unintended situation with regards to data protection. Stakeholders acknowledged that the BPR itself may require a minor revision to address these issues and prevent unfair treatment of market agents.
  • The dynamic regulatory environment poses challenges for the industry and demands constant attention from all stakeholders, including guidance updates and test-protocol adaptations. Developments at a larger scale, such as the announced one substance, one assessment approach, changes in the water framework directive, and the chemicals strategy for sustainability, also need to be monitored for their impact on the biocides field.
  • Attendees were encouraged to rely on regulatory experts to guide them through the decision-making process and set up an adequate strategy to fulfill the needs for technical and scientific data.

As the biocides industry faces a rapidly changing landscape, the 11th BPR Symposium served as an opportunity for stakeholders to come together and discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead. With a focus on collaboration and addressing regulatory challenges, the event provided a strong foundation for future progress in the field.