EU BPR and Non-Biocidal Copper

Question: Are products and components with materials listed under the European Union (EU) Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) obligated to report copper content within their products if the products are not intended for biocidal use?

Answer: Many companies with copper products have expressed concerns over compliance with the EU BPR, including members of the automotive industry and representatives of the copper industry.

The good news is that the BPR applies to biocidal products and treated articles, with biocidal products defined as “any substance or mixture, in the form in which it is supplied to the user, consisting of, containing or generating one more active substances, with the intention of destroying, deterring, rendering harmless, preventing the action of, or otherwise exerting a controlling effect on, any harmful organism by any means other than mere physical or mechanical action.”

In short, a biocidal product is intended to perform some sort of biocidal action using an active biocidal substance. According to the European Copper Institute (ECI), “the criterion of intentionality is essential in these definitions.” For example, ethanol, silver, copper and citric acid are all biocidal active substances, but the products or articles containing these substances are only considered biocidal if their intended use aligns with the BPR’s definition.

The ECI uses vodka and silverware as examples of this intentionality. Vodka is a mixture of ethanol (alcohol) and water; it’s sold as an alcoholic drink. Silver is also known to have biocidal properties, but silverware is sold as an eating utensil.

Copper, meanwhile, is widely used for conductivity, durability or aesthetics, not for the purpose of affecting a harmful organism. Unless the products you’re looking to sell are intended to affect a harmful organism and are marketed as such, the BPR’s provisions do not apply.

Article content current as of 2019-10-11.

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