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Occupational health

Microbial cleaners are covered by EU Directive 2000/54/EC (European Union, 2000) which regulates the minimum requirements for the protection of workers from risks related to biological agents. Employers (e.g. manufacturers and blenders of microbial products, professional cleaning service companies, other companies employing cleaning personnel) are required to conduct a risk assessment, including the classification of the micro-organisms used into one of four risk groups based on the pathogenic potential (European Union, 2000: Annex III). Potential allergenic or toxigenic effects (especially the former) are not reflected by the risk group scheme, but these effects also have to be considered (European Union, 2000: Articles 3, 3(d)). Only microbes which belong to risk group 1 are not considered to pose any hazards to human health. The use of microbes classified in risk group 2 or higher requires notification to the national competent authorities and preventive measures by the employer. The type of risk mitigation measures largely depends on the particular risk group and exposure scenario. Manufacturers claim that microbes classified into risk group 2 or higher are neither used nor considered for application in microbial cleaners and this was essentially confirmed in the product survey, with the exception of one product for special application in outdoor contexts.

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