Non-biocidal substitution options for curative wood preservatives

Wood preservatives should only be used as a last resort. Their substitution with non-biocidal alternatives is, amongst preventive protective measures for wood, key to achieve sustainable use . Existence of non-biocidal alternatives needs to be considered during comparative assessments. This website provides information on effective and environment-friendly substitutes for wood preservatives.

Non-biocidal measures to control harmful organisms for wooden products can be used to reduce the use of wood preservatives and their unintended effects on non-target organisms and the environment to the minimum necessary. This is especially of relevance for products containing active substances which were identified as candidates for substitution under the Biocidal Products Regulation 528/2012. According to Article 23 of the Regulation, non-chemical control or prevention methods need to be considered during the comparative assessments. These alternatives need to present a significantly lower overall risk for human health, animal health and the environment, should be sufficiently effective and should not have other significant economic or practical disadvantages.

The consideration of alternatives in the comparative assessment is strongly impeded by missing compilations of potential substitutes including their evaluation. For this reason, this website provides information on potential non-biocidal substitutes to wood preservatives that have been evaluated according to defined criteria. While preventive constructional measures to protect wood or the choice of durable wood are the most important measures to reduce the use of wood preservatives to the minimum necessary in practice, this compilation focuses on curative non-biocidal alternatives. This is because the comparative assessments as laid down in the BPR require more or less one-to-one substitutes to wood preservatives and does not consider functional substitution yet.

For wood preservatives, thermal methods may be considered as the most important one-to-one substitutes to biocidal wood preservatives. They are already independently evaluated according to the eco-label “Blue Angel” of the German Federal Government, including criteria on efficacy.

Blue Angel
The Blue Angel for “Thermal Processes to Control Ligniperdous Insects” (DE-UZ 57a) includes techniques using heat to control insects. The basic award criteria needing to be fulfilled to be awarded with the eco-label are published in English. The products awarded with the eco-label are published on the website of the Blue Angel.

Further one-to-one substitutes could be the usage of beneficial organisms. Infestations of the common furniture beetle Anobium punctatum have been reported to have been successfully treated with the natural antagonist the braconid wasp Spathius exarator (Link). However, no efficacy guidance is yet available to test their efficacy.

If you are aware of any other independent evaluations of non-biocidal alternatives, that should be listed on this website, please contact us via the contact form.