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Report Toxicovigilance Biocidal Products - 2022

bouteilles et flacons

At the request of the Service Biocides of the FPS Public Health, the Poison Centre conducted an analysis of the calls relating to accidental exposures to biocides in Belgium from 2022. Among the 3,157 calls for biocides, the majority of human exposures is due to disinfectants and pest control agents.

  • Adults constitute the largest group in the reported biocide exposures (36.9%), followed by children (34.8%) and animals (28.3%).
  • Adults are more often exposed to disinfectants (74.5%) than to other types of biocides (pest control agents, preservatives and others). Children are exposed to disinfectants (59.1%) and pest control agents (40.3%), especially insecticides (product type 18), repellents and attractants (TP19) and rodenticides (TP14).
  • The routes of exposure vary depending on the age of the victim and the type of biocide. In children, the oral route predominates because of the exploratory behaviour of the youngest children. For adults, exposure routes are more varied and correspond to the form and use of the products, e.g. contact by inhalation when using a spray.
  • The reported symptoms vary depending on the category of biocides and the specific properties of the active substances, with some causing immediate effects, such as chlorine vapours, while others have delayed effects
  • The Poison Centre also reports an increase in cases during summer due to the increased use of products such as swimming pool disinfectants, rodenticides (TP14), insecticides (TP18) and insect repellents and attractants (TP19).

Some exposures can be prevented by properly storing biocides and keeping children and pets away during use. The recommendations of the Poison Centre are therefore used in prevention campaigns such as lireavantutilisation.be (read before use – only Fr and NL).

Biocidal products are not harmless - it is best to be well informed about precautions and correct use so that you can use them safely and effectively. With these tips, you can already prevent some accidents: keep children away from biocides during and after use, store products out of the reach of children and never transfer a biocide into another container.

This study calls for continued vigilance, a targeted approach in prevention and continued cooperation to ensure the safety and health of the public.

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