CEPE members are not manufacturing biocide substances but need to use some of them for the essential preservation of their products. Biocides are chemical substances needed to control the development of microbes.
In paints and coatings biocide preservatives are needed to protect the wet water-based product in the can (before use) against bacteria and molds. When the paint has dried there are instances when another protection is also needed such as for outdoor painted building facades. In that case protection is desired to avoid the development of black spots due to fungi and green strips due to algae. In addition, biocides are also used at the building sites to remove mold on old surfaces before re-painting and on wood to protect it against fungal deterioration.
A can of paint on the shelf should be re-useable for at least a couple of years, in many cases without protection it would deteriorate in a matter of a few weeks. And on building facades the colonization of fungi and algae would be a matter of months when users are not expecting to have to re-paint before many years. Hence biocides are essential not only for design purposes but also to allow longer lasting products and to paint less frequently. Biocide preservatives are part of the solution of sustainable development.
Some CEPE member companies also manufacture paints that are used on ships hulls under the water line to prevent the development of fouling. They are called anti-fouling paints. Many aquatic organisms like to stick on a solid surface, and without adequate control they would develop colonies within a matter of weeks. This poses two key problems. First, their presence increases the resistance to movements, hence the fuel consumption of ships. By preventing organisms to stick to the ship hull anti-fouling paints prevent the release of more CO2 (greenhouse gas leading to global warming and acidification of oceans) and are therefore also part of sustainable development. Second, they also protect our ecosystems by preventing the entering and the dissemination of non-indigenous/invasive species.
Biocides are strictly regulated in Europe under the Biocide Product Regulation 528/2012. CEPE advocates for the essentiality of biocides in order to ensure continuous availability of sufficient ‘tools’ to control micro-organisms in Europe.