Biocidal products are those that are used to protect human beings, animals, materials or articles against harmful organisms such as pests or bacteria. Nevertheless, biocides can also have undesirable adverse effects damaging human health and/or the environment. In addition, it is quite common that, when released into different environmental compartments (soil, surface water, groundwater, air), the active biocidal substances undergo a series of degradation reactions that generate metabolites or transformation products that can significantly differ from the compounds progenitors in terms of their associated (eco)toxicity.

The commercialization and use of biocidal products for protection against harmful organisms such as pests or bacteria in Europe depends on the Regulation (EU) No. 528/2012 (commonly known as the Biocidal Product Regulation, BPR). The purpose of BPR is to harmonize the rules on the supply and use of biocidal products in the EU, while ensuring a high level of protection of people and the environment. These provisions are based on the precautionary principle, and the main rule is that biocidal products must be authorized before they can be made available on the market and used.

Although BPR does not completely forbid animal testing, it tries to minimize it as much as possible, for example by compiling companies to share data on tests on vertebrate animals, and by expressly forbidding duplicating such tests. The use of alternative methods is also specifically foreseen in BPR, with special reference to computational methods such as read-across or QSAR.

In ProtoQSAR we have the required models to facilitate compliance with BPR, and we are also currently developing new tools in the context of the European project LIFE-COMBASE, which have the following advantages over the options available to date:

  • We develop our models exclusively from databases of biocides, thus ensuring a correct domain of applicability of our QSARs, which is one of the conditions of the OECD-ECHA to consider them valid.
  • We cover all the parameters required by BPR, including those related to environmental impact, while most known models focus on physicochemical parameters or human toxicity.
  • We have models that have been evaluated through experimental tests to know their real prediction performance prior to their use and implementation in our technological platform.