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PFA attends Biocides workshop

April 1st, 2019

A representative from PFA recently travelled to Bootle, Merseyside to attend the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Non-Dietary Human Exposure Assessment of Biocide Products Workshop.

The workshop was a full day of expert led presentations covering the following topics:

  • Overview of the types of biocides products and uses; including surface disinfection, insect repellents and antifouling agents.
  • Overview of the assessments: both quantitative and qualitative, tiered approaches and refinements of exposure scenarios for both workers and bystanders.
  • The ECHA recommended tools and models for each product type and exposure scenario.
  • Oral, dermal and inhalation exposure calculations, including combined/overall exposure estimates.  
  • Information on ECHA, The Human Exposure Expert Group (HEEG) and Biocidal Active Substances (BAS) requirements for authorisation of products.
  • Recent developments in various areas of human health assessment of biocides.

The exposure assessments demonstrated at the workshop follow the same approach used by the Human Health Exposure Team at PFA: the products are assessed using tiers, starting from the worst-case scenario where the highest level of exposure is assumed and if necessary, refining this assessment based on available data.

In-between each of the presentations, example calculations and scenarios were provided to reinforce the attendee’s knowledge of exposure assessments for the various biocidal product types. This made use of Models and exposure values outlined by ECHA and The Human Exposure Expert Group (HEEG) along with the possible refinements for each. The standard models which were outlined at the workshop provide a very good starting point for biocidal exposure assessments. Within the models a range of tasks are covered, such as; mixing and loading, surface disinfection, spraying, disposal and many more. This makes them very useful tools for exposure assessments.

The complicated and vast number of biocidal products poses a complicated issue for human health assessment, however another of the topics covered in the workshop included the new “Meta-SPC” grouping approach which helps to make assessments more manageable by grouping substances based on similar uses and active substance(s).

The workshop was very well organised and contained a lot of useful and critical information to deal with the exposure assessment of biocidal products. PFA would like to thank those at HSE involved in putting together the workshop. We welcome future opportunities to meet with other experts also working on the assessment of biocidal products, to share and expand our knowledge and experience.