Application d'un produit biocide
13 . 12 . 22

The future of disinfectant active substances. An example: DDAC

Today, biocidal products are indispensable for the control of organisms harmful to humans or their activities. However, these products are not without risk to human and animal species. For this reason, regulations have been put in place, at European and national levels, to control the effectiveness of each biocidal product placed on the market. They also aim to ensure that the risks it presents are acceptable.

In the following lines, discover the future of disinfectant active substances, with the example of didecyldimethylammonium chloride, also called DDAC.

Biocidal products, everyday allies

In the hygiene sector, biocidal products are an integral part of our daily lives. Among them are disinfectants, pest control products (insects, rodents, parasites, fungi, etc.) and wood protection products.

Easily accessible, such as insecticides or rodenticides, some can be hazardous to health if used improperly. For this reason, they have been subject to stricter regulations in recent years, allowing the sale of truly effective products with lower risks.

Regulations already in place

The sale of biocidal products is controlled and their uses are monitored. Indeed, the European regulation no. 528/2012 stipulates that it is necessary to ensure a high level of protection for humans, fauna and flora by limiting exposure to excessive chemical products. In order to do this, this regulation consists of two steps:

  • Evaluation of biocidal active substances:  Regulatory criteria must be applied to verify their effectiveness and risks before they are approved by the European Commission.
  • Evaluation of products that can receive a marketing authorization, called MA.

The active substances that are subject to a refusal to market are mainly endocrine disruptors, persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic substances (PBT), very persistent and very bioaccumulative substances (vPvB) as well as carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic substances for reproduction of category 1A and 1B.


The DDAC case 

Didecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC) is a biocidal product that belongs to the quaternary ammonium compounds. It is used as a disinfectant, antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal agent in professional environments.

Particularly corrosive, this substance should be used with care as it can cause irritation and dryness of the skin. A study has stated that this product would also harm reproduction in humans. Tests have been performed on animal models of mice. It was observed that 40% of the females revealed difficulties in giving birth and took longer to be fertilized.

For this reason, DDAC has been included in Annex I of Directive 98/8/EC since 2013 and has faced the obligation of marketing approval by the Biocides Committee since 2020. While waiting for the marketing authorization, this chemical substance must pass 2 tests:

  • November 1, 2022 for type 3 and 4 products (Veterinary hygiene and surfaces in contact with food and animal feed);
  • In 2023 for type 1 and 2 products (Human hygiene and disinfectants not intended for application to humans and animals).

What’s in store for the regulation of biocides? 

The Ministers of Ecological Transition, and Solidarity and Health are launching an alert by wanting to “Develop biocidal products with more favorable profiles for public health and the environment.” Together, they set up the fourth national environment plan (PNSE 4) to monitor more rigorously the risks to which the population and the environment are exposed.

The main objectives of this regulation are to promote products that do not contain substances of concern or nanomaterials and to encourage manufacturers of biocidal products to favor more environmentally friendly compounds. Among these actions, one of them aims at informing consumers and mainly, pet owners. Biocidal products are widely used to repel pests and are quickly dispersed in the environment, increasing the risk of poisoning pets and livestock.

Today, the subjects of health, safety and environmental protection are among our priorities. The Berkem Group is positioned as a dynamic player in these areas. Thanks to its innovative technology based on polyphenolic extracts, the Synerkem offer significantly reduces the content of biocidal active substances.