Choosing the Right Disinfectants for COVID-19 Return-to-Work

July 14, 2020

As workplaces and businesses re-open, stricter guidelines for cleanliness and disinfecting continue to dominate how we engage with employees and the public.

To help with disinfecting, the EPA put together the List N Tool, a web-based app which identifies disinfectant products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Smartphone users can search by use (e.g., business, healthcare, home, etc.), surface type (e.g., hard, non-porous surfaces vs. porous surfaces like fabrics), contact time or the time the product needs to be visibly wet, EPA registration number, active ingredient, or product name.

If one wants to search by EPA registration number, for example, one opens the app and enters the first two sets of a product’s EPA registration number into the search bar. This number is the “EPA Reg. No.” on the product label.

The website uses the example EPA Reg. No. 12345-12. If that is on List N, one can buy a product with these two sets of numbers even if additional numbers are added, such as EPA Reg. No. 12345-12-2567, and feel confident that this is an effective product.

Also, EPA states that it intends to expedite reviews of certain Pesticide Registration Improvement Extension Act (PRIA 4) submissions for products intended for use against SARS-CoV-2. These actions would apply to products that are currently registered and would simply require an efficacy data review, as well as applications for new disinfectant products.

EPA stated that it may also consider the expedited review of new active ingredients or novel uses for currently registered active ingredients, such as higher application rates; or application methods such as fogging and electrostatic sprayers; or use sites such as porous surfaces.

These procedures do not replace the review process of all other submitted antimicrobial products, however.

The EPA is quick to point out that inclusion on this list does not constitute an endorsement by EPA. And that disinfectants not included may meet the criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2.

The list, last updated July 9, 2020, currently identifies 432 surface disinfectant products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2. Check out also the EPA’s one-pager on 6 Steps for Safe & Effective Disinfectant Use.

In another, recent development the EPA announced that it approved the first surface disinfectant products tested on the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Before pesticide products can legally make claims that they can kill a particular pathogen such as SARS-CoV-2, the claim must be authorized by EPA based on a review of data. EPA updated the entries for the two products on List N to show they have now been tested directly against SARS-CoV-2.

These are the first List N products for which EPA has reviewed laboratory testing data and approved label claims against SARS-CoV-2. EPA expects to approve such claims for additional List N products in the coming weeks.

The EPA’s List N Tool is not the only guideline you can use. The CDC’s cleaning and disinfecting webpage includes a CDC/EPA guidance for cleaning and disinfecting, and a cleaning and disinfecting decision tool.

Companies that use cleaning and disinfecting products and agents must comply with OSHA regulatory requirements. They must make available the Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) of the products. They must also train workers on the hazards of the products, safe uses, and protective measures like PPE.

Free Access to SDSs for Approved COVID-19 Cleaning Products

Enablon partners with Verisk 3E to provide organizations access to millions of SDSs that can be imported into the Enablon platform.

As a public service to help companies keep employees, families and communities safe, Verisk 3E now offers free online access to SDSs for cleaning products approved for use against COVID-19.

Verisk 3E wants to make it easy for you to access chemical safety data as you take measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Now you can search, view, print and download SDSs for agency-approved cleaning products using the 3E Protect™ SDS and chemical compliance management platform from Verisk 3E free of charge.


Laurie Toupin