South Korea to Reinforce Consumer-use Biocides Safety Management

South Korea to Reinforce Consumer-use Biocides Safety ManagementOn March 8, 2021, the South Korean Ministry of Environment issued the Announcement 2021-139, a draft amendment to the “MoE Notification 2020-117 Designation of Consumer Chemical Products Subject to Safety Verification and Safety and Label Standards”. The biocide part represents the largest changes, namely the abolishment of air-use disinfectants, the establishment of microbial contamination limits and clarification on eligible main substances and limits, as well as the mandatory efficacy test data required for products with biocidal substance claim. A new product category, lubricants will be newly designated as consumer chemical products based on the actual condition investigation and risk assessment. As a result of the respiratory toxicity data recently produced in Korea, Benzalkonium Chloride and Sodium Dichloroisocyanurate will be added to the list of universally prohibited substances in spray-type products.

The safety verification system was established under the “Act on Consumer Chemical Products and Biocides Safety”, notable the safety verification on consumer chemicals and notification, pre-approval of active substance and biocidal products. Of all the 13 groups of 39 consumer chemical products designated for safety verification, 3 groups overlap with biocides.

Groups and Categories of Consumer Chemical Products Subject to Safety Verification in South Korea


Category (Notification 2020-117)

Category (Announcement 2021-139)

Detergent product




Laundry products

Laundry detergents

Bleaching agents

Fabric softeners


Coating products

Gloss coatings

Special Purpose Coating Agent

Anti-rust additives

Ironing auxiliaries

Gloss coatings

Special Purpose Coating Agent

Anti-rust additives


Ironing auxiliaries

Adhesive products


Gap and crack fillers


Air freshener products

Air fresheners

Deodorizing agents


Dye and Colorant painting products

Dye agents

Colorant painting agents


Auto products

Windshield washer fluids for automobiles

Engine antifreezing agent


Printing and Document Related Products

Ink cartridges and toners

Red seal ink pads

Correction fluids and tapes


Beauty products

Adhesives for beauty

Tattoo inks


Disinfection products



Antibacterial agent and disinfectant for humidifier*

Sterilization and disinfectant for preventing infectious diseases*

Other disinfectants for quarantine*



Antibacterial and disinfectant for humidifiers*

Quarantine sterilization and disinfectant for the prevention of infectious diseases*

Insect repellent products

Insect repellents

Prevention, attracting insecticide for health use*

Repellent for health use*

Prevention insecticide for infectious diseases*

Rodenticide for infectious diseases*

Insect repellents

Health pesticide*

Health repellent*

pesticide for preventing infectious disease prevention*

Rodenticide for infectious disease prevention*

Preservative products, Preservative-treated products

Wood Preservatives

Preservative-treated filter product


Dehumidifying agent
Artificial snow spray
Fog fluid for performance
Household chemical products for humidifiers*

 * Products not yet established with safety standards that need to obtain premarketing approval from the MoE.

Apart from substances approved under biocide management system and notified existing substances within the approval grace period, the safety standard specified dozens of main substances allow for use in disinfectants, algicide and insect repellents. The amending draft increases the substances and refines allowable limits in different use categories and formulation types.

Consumer-use disinfectants have definite use categories and scopes and disinfectants for other uses need to comply with the biocide regulation. In this amendment, air disinfection purpose has been removed from the “special purpose” category and “electrolytic sterilizer purpose” was newly added.

Use Scope of Disinfectants Regulated as Consumer Chemical Products

Use Category


General use

General objects: furniture, glass, wood, plastic, metal, fiber, etc.;

For drainage pipes, for removing mold, for closed spaces (where people cannot enter, such as refrigerators and shoe racks, and detailed purpose must be stated together)

Special purpose

Children's products (only for products intended for use by children under 13 years)

Toothbrush and tongue cleaner sterilization

For electrolytic sterilizer

Multi-purpose, wet mop cleaner, toilet water tank (Limited to products that generate sterilized water from chlorine ions through an electrolysis device)

The draft adds Ethylene oxide and Acrylic acid as prohibited in all formulations and 6 substances have been newly established with content limits in general-use disinfectants. A microbial contaminant limit of 500/g (mL) viable cell count was proposed for special-purpose disinfectants. In case of a product indicating the effect or efficacy of the biocidal substance used, additional efficacy data needs to be submitted.

The newly proposed product category, lubricants, refer to oil film foaming chemicals used for vehicle, musical instrument, leisure goods, tool, and metal. These products have been established with 5 prohibited substances, 6 restricted substances and 8 substances to be controlled during the manufacturing process. Also, the amending draft requires a biodegradation test on fabric softeners that emission into water system and add more allowable preservative substances for remover and laundry detergent.

Reference Link

Consultation Notice(in Korean)

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