European Regulations for Biocides in Metalworking Fluids Explained

Posted on June 25, 2019

Before the implementation of REACH, less than 5% of the chemicals used in Europe had been evaluated in any form. EU legislation, therefore, includes several ambitious evaluation programmes to help us better understand the chemicals we use within the workplace, so that we can avoid the most harmful ones.

Most components in metalworking fluids are evaluated under the EU’s evaluation programme – biocides have partially evaded this, until now. It is likely that most of the biocides in use today will be affected by the legislation in the near future – some will be reclassified, while others will be banned entirely.

Regulations Explained

How biocides can be used within the metalworking industry is determined by legislation at an EU-level, through the chemicals agency, ECHA. Chemicals legislation is divided into different regulations and directives.

The most important regulations are REACH, CLP and the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR). The different ordinances have an effect on and determine the content in different products in different ways.

• REACH – determines which substances may be present in the metalworking fluid, with the exception of biocides
• CLP – determines how the metalworking fluid shall be classified, labelled and packaged
• BPR – determines which biocidal substances may be used in a metalworking fluid

The Biocidal Products Regulation

Biocides have their own evaluation programme under The Biocidal Products Regulation. The biocides are divided according to fields of application into what are known as product types (PT). Biocides for metalworking fluids are placed in PT13 – ‘Products to control microbial deterioration in fluids used for working or cutting metal, glass or other materials.’

The above evaluations have been taking place on an ongoing basis and are due be completed by September 2020, at the latest.

For a biocide substance to be approved as an active substance, it must not be classified as carcinogenic (cat. 1A or 1B), mutagenic (cat. 1A or 1B), toxic for reproduction (cat. 1A or 1B), PBT, vPvB, or as having endocrine disrupting properties.


With regulations surrounding metalworking fluids tightening, manufacturers need to look for a solution to control bacterial contaminants within their metalworking lubricants, without the risk of their current solution being reclassified or banned.

Using UV-C technology, the FluidWorker tackles bacteria in metalworking fluids, helping you avoid costly production downtime from the above regulations, whilst protecting your workforce, reducing your environmental footprint and enhancing your production.

For more information about the FluidWorker, please visit our website:, or alternatively get in contact with your regional account manager today: