The recently adopted Parliament and Council Directive (98/8/EC) concerning authorization for the placing of biocidal products on the market has now been published in the Official Journal. Biocides, formerly known as non-agricultural pesticides, are regarded as necessary for the control of organisms harmful to human or animal health, and for the control of organisms that cause damage to natural or manufactured products. It is, however, recognised that biocidal products can themselves pose risks to humans, animals and the environment in a variety of ways, due to their intrinsic properties and associated use patterns. This Directive therefore lays down a framework of rules relating to the market access of biocidal products. This involves the provision of a system of authorization for their circulation where certain conditions must be fulfilled, including: - If its active substances are listed in the Directive for use in biocidal products; - If the biocidal product is sufficiently effective and its use and disposal have been considered; - If, in the light of current scientific and technical knowledge, it has been established that there are no unacceptable effects on the target organisms; - If it has no direct or indirect unacceptable effects on human or animal health, or on the environment; - The product has been labelled and classified according to the provisions of Directive 88/379/EEC on the packaging and labelling of dangerous substances. The only exception permitted to the authorization requirements set out in the Directive is in circumstances where a measure appears necessary because of unforeseen danger that cannot be contained by other means. The Directive also provides for mutual recognition of authorizations within the Community and the establishment at Community level of a positive list of substances which may be used in biocidal products. Provision is also made for the establishment of a Standing Committee on Biocidal Products to assist the Commission in the authorization procedure. This committee will be composed of representatives from the Member States and chaired by a Commission representative.