Biocides and Antimicrobials
Biocides, Antimicrobials and Regulated Definitions
Antimicrobial, biocides, antibiotics, insecticides, etc. ...are all generic names used to identify regulated chemical agents used in controlling different types of microorganisms in a broad spectrum of applications.
Regardless of their common name, in the United States they are predominantly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency under the general category of Pesticides.
Medical devices such as high-level disinfectants are regulated by the FDA, along with food and food contact additives.
As their regulation is both chemical identity and end use specific, there are few unilateral descriptions that apply to these types of additives.
Antimicrobials and biocides are most associated with the control of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and algae. They are typically described as Biocides in industrial applications such as bulk preservation or manufacturing uses, and as Antimicrobials for consumer products. Regardless, the active ingredients could be interchangeable.
For more information on the definition and regulation of biocides see the relevant regulatory authorities: US Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA); US Food and Drug Administration (U.S FDA); and European Biocidal Products Directive.