Only biocidal products that have been authorised by the FPS Public Health may be purchased and used to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Make sure that you follow the rules for the safe use of biocidal products as well as the general coronavirus measures.
General points to consider
Just like other biocidal products, hand sanitisers and surface disinfectants may pose a risk to our health and the environment if used carelessly or improperly. Moreover, improper use of such products may cause bacteria to become resistant to the active substances in these products. Therefore, always follow the general safety precautions for the use of biocidal products.
You must also respect the general measures against the spread of the coronavirus:
- Wash your hands with soap and water
- Maintain a sufficient distance from others (1.5 metres)
- Limit the number of people with whom you have close physical contact
Current measures for the control of the coronavirus can be found at www.info-coronavirus.be.
Authorised biocidal products
All authorised biocidal products can be found on the list of authorised biocidal products.
Alcohol-based gels and hydroalcoholic solutions may be harmful if used improperly or in inappropriate concentrations. Moreover, bacteria may become resistant to the active substances in the hand sanitiser. Therefore, it is preferable that you wash your hands with soap and water.
If no soap or water is available, you may use a hydroalcoholic gel. According to WHO (World Health Organization) recommendations, disinfectant hydroalcoholic solutions for use in healthcare must contain at least 80% ethanol or 75% isopropanol to be effective against bacteria and certain viruses such as COVID-19 (see WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care).
Hydroalcoholic solutions with a lower alcohol content, intended for use by the general public, are authorised in Belgium provided that (and if applicable) the efficacy of the hand sanitiser formulation against bacteria and encapsulated viruses has been demonstrated on the basis of scientific data.
Usually, hand sanitisers are supplied to companies or institutions in large-volume industrial packages. In principle, this kind of packaging must be maintained: as a rule, biocidal products may only be made available on the market and used in the volumes allowed by the FPS Public Health. However, for practical reasons, you may repackage a hand sanitiser in smaller packages if the following conditions are met:
- The large-volume package has been approved by the FPS Public Health
- The already approved label is also affixed to the new package and not changed under any circumstances
- The biocidal product is solely intended for internal use (at the workplace, in production or for teleworking)
- The biocidal product is not re-sold after repackaging in smaller packages
To clean work surfaces, floors, walls and other surfaces, you may use any commercially available cleaning products. But if you also want to disinfect rooms and surfaces, you must only use authorised biocidal products.
Strictly follow the instructions for use on the label and the certificate. For example, it may be necessary to shield or remove any food that is present in the treated area or to thoroughly rinse the treated surfaces with potable water.
We advise private individuals to continue cleaning the house with a regular cleaning product. If your housemate is or may be infected, it is recommended that hard surfaces that are frequently touched are disinfected with bleach.
Detailed information can be found in our guide on the use of surface disinfectants.
The use of disinfection tunnels for disinfecting shopping carts and customers is currently not recommended in Belgium (see the Recommendation concerning SARS-CoV-2 and the use of ozone tunnels for the purpose of ‘disinfecting’ shopping carts including customers of the Superior Health Council).
The efficacy of disinfection tunnels is not scientifically proven. Moreover, the risk of irritation of the mucous membranes (particularly the lungs) is excessively high for the most vulnerable individuals, even at very low doses.
This recommendation also applies to disinfection tunnels that make use of biocidal active substances other than ozone.
On the basis of the recommendation of the Superior Health Council, the FPS Public Health has decided to consider applications for disinfection tunnels as follows:
- If the active substance is already approved at the European level (see the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) website), the application will fall under the European authorisation procedure.
- If the active substance is still under evaluation in the European Review Programme, the application will fall under the national registration procedure, with a full scientific evaluation according to Article 10 of the Royal Decree of 4 April 2019.