What is a biocide?

A biocide is a chemical substance or microorganism which destroys living things. They are commonly used as disinfectants, oxidising agents, and preservatives. A biocide can be a pesticide which include fungicides, herbicides, insecticides etc.  or an antimicrobial such as an antibiotic or antifungal.

A biocide can act alone as an active substance or as part of a biocidal product. A biocidal product is a formulation of one or more biocidal active substances along with other non-active excipients. These can be co-formulants added to achieve the desired pH, colour, odour etc.

Biocides can be used by members of the public in a variety of different settings including their homes and their workplaces. As biocides are aimed to control a wide variety of harmful or unwanted organisms, it is important that there are precautions to ensure these products can be used without causing harm to people. Everyone who uses biocides is responsible for using them correctly and safely.

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