European Union Proposes Reclassification for Propiconazole

In October, as part of its regular review processes, the European Union proposed the reclassification of numerous chemical substances, including propiconazole, a constituent of many of our wood preservatives and anti-sapstains.  The proposal would classify propiconazole as a reproductive toxin 1B which would likely result in its use being significantly restricted in European countries.  This conclusion is not supported by EPA findings nor is it the result of any new studies, data or risk assessments. The classification would not limit the use of propiconazole or wood treated with propiconazole in North America. However, such a classification would jeopardize the international trade of propiconazole and any wood product containing propiconazole being imported to the EU.

Lonza Wood Protection, in both Europe and the Americas, encouraged government agencies and industrial organizations to submit comments to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the proposed classification, and reviewed and provided input on the comments that were being submitted.  The WTO notification comment deadline for this measure was December 11, 2017.  The EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Committee was scheduled to vote on the measure on December 12, 2017 but was delayed until February 19 – 20, 2018, in large part due to the number of comments received by WTO.

Propiconazole is due for review under the Biocidal Products Registration (BPR, the EU equivalent of FIFRA) starting September 2018, to determine the conditions under which wood preservation uses (PT8) may continue in Europe.  We expect that the WTO comments will factor in the renewal of propiconazole under the BPR and support the Social Economic Argument (SEA) case that it should continue to be a viable active ingredient.

Lonza will continue to monitor this EU proposal and work with all stakeholders to support the continuing acceptability of wood treated with propiconazole in Europe. We will also continue to keep you informed of any updates and/or changes.