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Brussels, 19 May 2011

Environment: Commission takes Czech Republic to Court over failure to update biocides legislation

The European Commission is referring the Czech Republic to the EU Court of Justice over its failure to meet the European requirements on biocidal products. Despite earlier warnings the Czech Republic has not added acrolein, a substance used in certain biocidal products, to its national list of active substances that are covered by biocides legislation. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, the Commission is therefore referring the case to the EU Court of Justice.

Under EU legislation Member States must add new substances approved at EU level to their national lists of approved substances. This allows producers to ask for an authorisation to place products containing these substances on the market.

Directive 2010/5/EU requires Member States to add a substance used in biocides known as acrolein to their national lists of active substances by 31 August 2010. Acrolein is a substance used in slimicides, which are a type of biocide that prevent the production of slime. As the Czech Republic did not notify the Commission of any such measure before the deadline, warnings were sent, including a reasoned opinion in January 2011 (see IP/11/86). As the situation has not changed since the reasoned opinion and no drafts have been communicated to the Commission, it has been decided to refer the Czech Republic to the EU Court of Justice.


Biocides contain active substances, such as acrolein, which act on or against harmful organisms. As they may present risks to human health or the environment, Member States may only authorise the placing on the market of such products after the appropriate tests have been completed and the active substance has been included in Annex I of the Biocides Directive. Member States must then add these substances to their national lists of approved substances, so that producers may ask for an authorisation to place them on the market.

Further information

For current statistics on infringements in general:

For more information on the Biocides Directive and its implementation:

See also MEMO/11/312

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