Thursday, March 15, 2012Focus

Biocides and our skins: within which regulatory framework?

©fotolia.com/L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques

Thanks to the media-emphasized interest for H1N1, hydro-alcoholic gels (HAG) have become available almost everywhere, from healthcare environments to the  women’s purses, in which, among lipsticks, mirrors and every kind of necessary items, often, there is still nowadays a small HAG bottle. However, is it a cosmetic? A biocide? Neither? Or both. A clarification, by Corinne Benoliel, Doctor in Pharmaceutics and the Scientific Director of Scientis, a manufacturer.

Reading time
~ 10 minutes

Hydro-alcoholic products (lotions, gels, known under the HAG acronym), cleansing gels with an antimicrobial effect … all are designed to be applied on our skins, more or less frequently.

On our skins…therefore, they are cosmetics? … This is the first idea, quite logical. Nevertheless, it does not take into account a text, the Directive concerning the placing of biocidal products on the market (that we will call the Biocides Directive), issued in 1998, still in the implementation stage now …

Back then, the link between products with an antibacterial effect and this Directive was not so obvious. It was easier to link it with disinfectants, insecticides, rodenticides … And yet, when “exploring” this Directive, one finds “PT1” … "Product-type 1: Human hygiene biocidal products", exactly the topic of this paper.

The players in the game

Microorganisms
Though infinitely small, they are ubiquitous and are our companions for our entire life … Both protective and/or aggressive, opportunist when an immune system is on its knees, they breathe, they multiply at an incredible speed and overrun any kind of inert or living support. Naturally present in our environment, they may induce, depending on different parameters, foodborne illnesses, nosocomial infections or pandemics.

Biocides …

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