Polihexanide is an antibacterial and algaecide. It is used in swimming pools and spas to control algae, as a disinfectant in veterinary products, and as a sanitiser for milk handling equipment.

Polihexanide review

Status: review in progress

In July 2005 the APVMA began a review of polihexanide because of human health concerns. This action was based on advice from the Office of Chemical Safety and Environmental Health (OCSEH) which identified polihexanide as a potential carcinogen.

Based on a comprehensive toxicological assessment, the OCSEH identified polihexanide as a potential carcinogen in rodents but only at high exposure levels which are unlikely to be encountered in occupational or public settings.

The OCSEH did not regard its carcinogenicity in rodents at high doses as a barrier to continuing registration of products containing polihexanide. For more information, see the Polihexanide Carcinogenicity Hazard Assessment Report (June 2011) (PDF, 526kb) | (RTF, 1.22Mb).

A number of other toxicological and occupational exposure matters remain to be addressed, however this report is being published first as the carcinogenic potential was originally considered a priority that needed to be addressed immediately.

Once completed, the APVMA will publish an assessment of the additional toxicological and any occupational health and safety concerns in a preliminary review findings report.

Review Report Date
Carcinogenicity Hazard Assessment (PDF, 526kb) | (RTF, 1.22Mb) June 2011


For more information contact:

Chemical Review

Phone: +61 2 6210 4749

Fax: +61 2 6210 4776

Email: chemicalreview@apvma.gov.au

Product Search

Search the PUBCRIS database for registered products that contain polihexanide.
Note: In the Active Constituent 1 field enter polihexanide.

APVMA polihexanide archive

Title Date
Review Scope Document (PDF, 437kb) Jul 2005
Polihexanide FAQ  
Gazette Notice: reconsideration of polihexanide Aug 2005

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Get fortnightly, regular updates from the APVMA. Read more