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FAQs on the benefits and risks of disinfectants used in private households

FAQ of the BfR of 22 May 2014

For private households, cleaning agents and laundry detergents are available which can contain biocidal active ingredients. The products are often advertised for their antibacterial properties, i.e. it is claimed that they eliminate harmful microorganisms.

The use of such disinfectants does not always have health benefits or they cannot be demonstrated beyond doubt. Health risks posed by such products must be taken into account. In addition, the risk of the microorganisms building resistance to biocidal active ingredients is currently the subject of debate.

In the opinion of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), disinfectants should only be used in private households in justified exceptional cases. To protect against infection, it is sufficient as a general principle to observe the basic rules of hygiene in the household and to use cleaning agents and laundry detergents without any biocidal active ingredients. Justified exceptions are medically indicated situations where disinfectants are used based on advice given by medical professionals.

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22.05.2014
FAQ of the BfR
FAQs on the benefits and risks of disinfectants used in private households 38.2 KB
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