What are biocides and what are they used for?
Biocides (from the Greek bios = life and Latin caedere = to kill) are chemical substances that are intended to kill harmful organisms. They have nothing to do with bio, even if the term might suggest it. Biocides are used in everyday life in many household products such as insect sprays, ant bait cans, mold removal products, rat poisons, or wood preservatives. Meanwhile, many textiles also contain biocides such as silver chloride or zinc pythirion. Sportswear or even some period underwear are treated with these chemical substances. The biocides inhibit the ability of harmful organisms to multiply and are thus intended to counteract odour formation and ensure greater hygiene.
Are biocides harmful to human health?
Since biocides are chemicals, they are not entirely harmless to us humans. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) warns that biocides can lead to allergic reactions and affect bacterial flora. In addition, resistance to pathogens can develop. However, as there is still no knowledge about the influence of biocides on the bacterial flora in the intimate area, the experts advise against the use of period panties containing biocides. It is not yet clear whether biocides pose a direct risk to women. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has not yet conducted a health assessment of such underwear. Nevertheless, scientists advise against the use of chemical cytotoxins in hygiene articles.