Understanding Biocidal Copper and Silver and Article 95

There are a number of companies selling elemental silver (EC No. 231-131-3, CAS No. 7440-22-4) as part of copper and silver ionisation systems for controlling Legionella and other bacteria in water systems that are not on the Article 95 list for elemental silver. At present, these ionisation companies would need to purchase their elemental silver in the correct Product Type (PT) from members of the silver task force that are on the Article 95 list, or from a company in a supply chain with members of the silver task force that are on the Article 95 list.

There are only 2 companies, other than ProEconomy, that are on the Article 95 list for elemental silver under PT 2 (uses include bathing water, air-conditioning systems, and water distribution systems) and PT 5 (drinking water).

Once elemental silver is approved as an active substance under the BPR, the need to comply with the product authorisation rules of the BPR arise. One effect of these rules is that a company supplying elemental silver as a biocidal product would need to demonstrate that its source of elemental silver is technically equivalent to the sources of elemental silver approved under the BPR. At the moment, there is only ProEconomy and one other company whose elemental silver is being reviewed under the BPR.

The majority of the ionisation systems used in the UK are installed within healthcare premises and therefore are paid by the taxpayer. ProEconomy are concerned about the financial implications associated with paying for non-compliant ionisation systems that will have to be shortly removed. ProEconomy would like to make the UK healthcare industry aware of this compliance situation as non-compliant ionisation companies may not be keeping their customers apprised.

ProEconomy are also concerned about the rising cost of elemental silver as a biocide which may fluctuate over time. ProEconomy has not increased the price of its elemental silver and guarantees the stability of its elemental silver price.

We hope that non-compliant ionisation companies have made their potential clients aware of the instability of their elemental silver price and the potential removal of their silver ionisation products from the market when the product authorisation obligations arise, as mentioned above.  

Written by Byron Bedford

Director of ProEconomy 

For more information please get in touch with me on 01525 854111 or at byron@proeconomy.com

December 18, 2013

October 29, 2013

HSE website confirms that copper derogation should be granted soon. 

The latest update from the HSE confirms that copper will be granted an essential use derogation as soon as the European Commission’s internal legal procedures have been completed.

Below is a screen grab from the HSE website. 


The decision has also been published online by the the European Commission. Below is a screen grab from the 'European Commission's Decision' for 'placing on the market for essential use of biocidal products containing copper'.
If you have any questions please contact ProEconomy on 01525 854111 or email us at enquiries@proeconomy.com.

August 12, 2013

ProEconomy embrace new technology

ProEconomy have initiated a new QR code scheme that will make the collection and analysis of water samples more effective and transparent. 

They have already trialed the system at various sites across the UK and are looking to expand the scheme further to include all their sites by the end of the year.

They plan to have QR codes on all of the tap points that they sample. ProEconomy samplers will then scan these codes and beam the specific tap point’s information to a content management system.

They plan for this to be a 'one stop shop' for water analysis and treatment efficacy. The scheme's content will be shared with the relevant clients, whom will be able to discuss tap points, task remedial works or action further investigations from their unique, password protected interfaces. 

Dr Birgitta Bedford is keen to embrace new technologies and remarked that they ‘hope this will help to further streamline ProEconomy. It will also give our clients the ability to see which sample points are being sampled as they are being sampled and will give them a clearer understanding of their sites microbiological situation….we have always been proud of our transparency and it is a testament to the efficacy of our copper and silver ionisation system that we are eager to share all our results as they happen with our clients.'

For more information please contact byron@proeconomy.com.


July 31, 2013

First PHd in Legionella Control?

ProEconomy’s Birgitta Bedford has received a PHd in Legionella Control from Cranfield University.

ProEconomy believe this to be the first PHd Doctor in Legionella control.

Her PHD specifically covered Legionella control by temperatures and by copper and silver ionisation.

Her findings confirmed that Legionella is not controlled by maintaining temperatures of above 50 degrees at hot and below 20 degrees at cold outlets. It highlighted specific issues at blended outlets because hot water is mixed with cold water to prevent scalding, but to temperatures at which Legionella grows rapidly. 

Legionella was however controlled by copper and silver ionisation systems installed in 10 of the UK hospitals that Birgitta studied at levels as low as 150 parts per billion of copper and 20 parts per billion of silver at outlets.

Elevated PH, which was considered an issue in the efficacy of copper and silver ionisation was shown not to hinder its efficacy in controlling Legionella within water systems.

If you have any questions please contact Birgitta at birgitta@proeconomy.com 

July 25, 2013

HSE website updated on copper derogation.

HSE have updated their website on the essential use derogation for copper as a biocide in water systems. 

HSE explain that the 'The Commission service responsible for biocidal products indicated at the meeting that it proposes to grant an essential use derogation for the UK for copper in product types 2 and 5 for the purposes of Legionella control.'


HSE go onto to state that Legionella control is their primary concern and that 'Any enforcement activity will focus on the failure to control the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria and the likelihood of legionnaire’s disease developing in a given situation, rather than on the means of control.'

Below is a link to HSE website and the update.


For more information please contact us at enquiries@proeconomy.com.

July 12, 2013

Copper essential use derogation supported. 


The European Commission (EC) has confirmed it intends to go forward with the essential use derogation for copper as a biocide. 

We are giving this information about the HSE essential use derogation for copper as a biocide ahead of schedule. 

Derogation has been supported by the EC on behalf of HSE for the use of copper as a biocide within the UK. Copper's approval as a Legionella control biocide is pending subject to the formal announcement by the EC, which is expected in September.

The Competent Authorities of the EC met on Friday and were presented with a draft agreement for derogation. No objections were made to this draft and the formal announcement should be made in mid September. 

We would like to take this opportunity to THANK our clients that have stayed loyal to us throughout this lengthy process.

If you have any questions please contact Dr Birgitta Bedford at birgitta@proeconomy.com who would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

There are also planned changes occurring to ACoP L8 and ProEconomy's Birgitta is the industry representative for these changes.

Please click the link below to submit your comments. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Visit www.proeconomy.com for more information.

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