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Effects of Biocides on antibiotic resistance

 

About this Publication on Effects of Biocides

  1. Source for this Publication
  2. The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR)
  3. Background to this SCENIHR opinion
  4. Specific questions asked by the European Commission to the SCENIHR

1. Source for this Publication

The texts quoted in Level 3 are directly sourced from the Opinion on  "Antibiotic Resistance Effects of Biocides" produced in 2009 by the SCENIHR (Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks) of the European Commission.

Levels 1 & 2 were written by Dr. Marisa Fernandez in collaboration with the GreenFacts editorial team and DG Health and Consumers of the European Commission.

This publication is produced by GreenFacts under a contract from DG Health and Consumers of the European Commission.

2. The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR)

The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) is one of three independent non-food scientific committees that advise the European Commission on matters of consumer safety, public health and the environment.

The committee was set up in 2004 to provide the European Commission with scientific advice on emerging and newly identified risks. SCENIHR addresses broad, complex or multidisciplinary issues requiring a comprehensive assessment of risks to consumer safety or public health. It also answers questions on related issues not covered by other community risk-assessment bodies.

Potential risks addressed by the committee include antimicrobial resistance, new technologies such as nanotechnology, medical devices, tissue engineering, blood products, fertility reduction, cancer of endocrine organs, physical hazards such as noise and electromagnetic fields.

For further information on the SCENIHR see:
http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scenihr/04_scenihr_en.htm 

3. Background to this SCENIHR opinion

The Opinion on  "Antibiotic Resistance Effects of Biocides", was adopted by the SCENIHR at the 28th Plenary meeting of 19 January 2009.

The SCENIHR had undertaken a public consultation on the basis of a preliminary opinion. Interested parties were invited to submit a series of comments or pertinent scientific information by 30 November 2008. The overview of these comments is available at:
http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scenihr/scenihr_cons_09_en.htm 

The opinion was finalised after consideration of the comments received.

4. Specific questions asked by the European Commission to the SCENIHR

For its Opinion on  "Antibiotic Resistance Effects of Biocides", the European Commission has asked SCENIHR the following:

  1. Does current scientific evidence indicate that the use of certain active substances in biocidal products in various settings as mentioned above can contribute to the occurrence of antibiotic resistant bacteria, both in humans and in the environment? If so, how does this effect compare to resistance due to application of medicinal products or veterinary medicinal products and other relevant applications? [The SCENIHR is in particular asked to consider the possible risk that exposure to biocides or active substances in biocidal products may favour the emergence or selection of cross resistance mechanisms (in bacterial species) that may decrease the efficacy of antibiotic molecules during therapy.]
  2. If yes, which types of active substances, modes of action or areas of application create the highest risks for increasing antibiotic resistance?
  3. If yes, what are the extent of the resulting antibiotic resistance and the relative contribution of the different applications to the risk of increasing antibiotic resistance?
  4. How can the development of antibiotic resistance due to the use of active substances in biocidal products be examined? Could the Committee advise on the methodologies?
  5. Please identify relevant gaps in scientific knowledge and suggest major research needs.

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