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Rules of thumb for safe use

Biocidal products are effective in controlling unwanted organisms, but they may pose a risk to our health and the environment. Hence, it is important to properly protect yourself, others and the environment. 

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    Purchasing a biocidal product safely

    Before buying a biocidal product, it is important to ask yourself a few questions:

    • Do I really need this product?
    • Is there an alternative that is less risky? For domestic use, you can take a look at the brochure ‘Pesticides in your home or garden?’
    • Which of the authorised biocidal products is the most suitable for solving my problem?
    • Do I need to buy protective equipment such as gloves, safety goggles, etc.?

    The more you expose yourself to biocidal products, the greater the risk to your health. Therefore, do not buy or use more of the product than you need. It is not necessary to build up a stock and, by not doing so, you also avoid accidents or having to destroy the products as chemical waste.

    Find out in advance exactly what precautions you need to take, what protective equipment is required, what to do with the waste and what measures to take in the event of an accident.

    • Biocidal products are sold in different types of packaging such as bottles, boxes, aerosol cans, bracelets, etc. These packages meet a number of legal requirements, such as the presence of a safety cap.
    • The label indicates important mandatory information about the composition, product hazards as well as the Belgian authorisation number.
    • Sometimes instructions for use or an information leaflet with instructions is also included.
    Using a biocidal product safely

    Using a biocidal product safely

    To use a biocidal product safely, keep in mind the following tips and instructions:

    • Read the labelCheck the hazard symbols and indications.
    • Strictly adhere to the precautionary statements.
    • Protect yourself according to the instructionsWear suitable protective clothing and, if necessary, gloves, a face mask and/or safety goggles. For some products, for example, nitrile gloves offer a different type of protection than rubber or latex gloves.
    • Wash clothing and clean protective equipment after use or throw them away.
    • Air the room properlyIf possible, keep a window open while working.
    • Take regular breaks when working in confined spaces.
    • Do not eat, smoke or drink while working.
    • Keep flammable products away from fire and other heat sources.
    • Keep children and other persons away while using the biocidal product as well as afterwards as long as a risk is present (e.g. while the product is drying, if rinsing is still needed, etc.).
    • Keep baits such as mouse pellets, ant bait boxes, etc. out of the reach of children.
    • Make sure that food and beverages are effectively shielded from the product.
    • Never pour a biocidal product into another container. This increases the risk of accidental poisoning.
    • Strictly follow the indicated quantitiesUsing too much of a product does not lead to a better result - in fact, it’s quite the contrary!
    • After use, store the biocidal product in a safe place, out of reach of children.
    Using a biocidal product safely

    What to do in the event of an accident with a biocidal product?

    • These are indicated on the label, in the information leaflet or on the packaging.
    • Contact the Poison Centre (tel. 070 245 245) or your GP or attending physician. In case of life-threatening situations, call the European emergency number 112. Keep the packaging or label at hand, so that emergency services know which product it is.

    Other useful tips can be found on the website of the Poison Centre.

    Clean-up or disposal of a biocidal product

    Biocidal products must be disposed of according to the instructions on the packagingIf these are not indicated, you should follow the usual waste disposal and collection rules applicable in your area or municipality. A biocidal product must never be poured into the sink!

    Do you have any other questions about the use of biocidal products?

    Call the FPS Public Health Contact Centre at:

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