Pesticides are often confused with “plant protection products.”
For clarity, pesticides include both biocides and plant protection products, the former refers to non-food items and animal feed and the latter refers to substances used for food and feed purposes.
A distinction must be made between the active substance of a biocide and a biocide product. The active substances of a biocide are mainly chemical compounds, but can also be microorganisms (e.g. bacteria).
Biocide products contain one or more biocide effective ingredients and may contain a compound.
A biocide is defined in European legislation as a chemical substance or a microorganism that is intended to destroy, deter, neutralize or exert a controlling effect on any harmful organism.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses a slightly different definition of biocides as “a diverse group of toxic substances including preservatives, pesticides, and disinfectants used to control organisms harmful to human or animal health or harmful to nature.”
When comparing the two definitions, they mean nearly the same thing, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s definition includes plant protection products and some veterinary drugs.