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EPA Approves Emergency Exemption for Surface Coating that Continuously Kills COVID-19

This original announcement was published by the EPA on April 22, 2021. Click here for more information.

 

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved emergency exemption requests from Georgia, Utah, and Minnesota, allowing BIAXAM, a supplemental residual surface coating. EPA is issuing an emergency exemption for BIAXAM to be used in Delta Air Lines planes and facilities in those three states.

BIAXAM is an adhesive film that can be applied by trained applicators to a range of hard, non-porous surfaces like gate counters, seat backs, overhead storage, and touch screens. Laboratory testing data submitted by the applicant indicates that BIAXAM kills 99.999% of SARS-CoV-2 particles that land on the film within two hours. Based on differences in cleaning and disinfection frequency and protocols used in airport terminals vs. airplanes, it remains effective for up to 100 days on airport surfaces and up to 200 days on airplane surfaces.

Recent information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that the risk of being infected with COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces is considered low. This product serves as an additional tool in limited use situations to aid in the fight against the virus and does not replace routine cleaning and disinfection. Always follow CDC, state, and local public health guidelines.

For more information about this emergency exemption, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/section-18-emergency-exemption-requests-and-coronavirus-covid-19.

 Learn more about the risk of surface transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

EPA Registers Copper Surfaces for Residual Use Against Coronavirus

This original announcement was published by the EPA on February 10, 2021. Click here for more information.

 

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that certain copper alloys provide long-term effectiveness against viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. As a result of EPA’s approval, products containing these copper alloys can now be sold and distributed with claims that they kill certain viruses that come into contact with them. This is the first product with residual claims against viruses to be registered for use nationwide. Testing to demonstrate this effectiveness was conducted on harder-to-kill viruses.

“Providing Americans with new tools and information to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 is one of EPA’s top priorities,” said Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff. “Today’s action marks another step forward in EPA’s efforts to listen to the science and provide effective tools to help protect human health.”

In today’s action, EPA is granting an amended registration to the Copper Development Association for an emerging viral pathogen claim to be added to the label of Antimicrobial Copper Alloys- Group 1 (EPA Reg. No. 82012-1), which is made of at least 95.6 percent copper. Amended registrations allow previously registered products to make label changes (e.g., changes to product claims, precautions and/or use directions) and/or formulation changes. In this case, the amended registration is adding virus claims to the product registration.

New efficacy testing supported by the Copper Development Association and conducted according to EPA’s protocols demonstrated certain high-percentage copper alloy products can continuously kill viruses that come into contact with them. Based on testing against harder-to-kill viruses, EPA expects these products to eliminate 99.9 percent of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, within two hours.

Antimicrobial copper alloys can be manufactured into a wide range of surfaces, including doorknobs and handrails. These high-percentage copper alloy products will be added to the List N Appendix, the Agency’s list of residual antiviral products that can be used to supplement routine cleaning and disinfection to combat SARS-CoV-2. To find products for routine cleaning and disinfection, see EPA’s List N.

The use of antimicrobial copper alloy products supplements but does not replace standard infection control practices. Individuals should continue to follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC), state, and local public health guidelines, including critical precautions like mask wearing, social distancing, and ventilation. According to the CDC, COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person to person.

For more information on how copper alloy products can be used against viruses, see EPA’s website or the product’s label in the Pesticide Product and Label System.

EPA Authorizes Emergency Exemptions for Residual Antiviral Surface Coating for Oklahoma and Arkansas

This original announcement was published by the EPA on January 21, 2021. Click here for more information. 

 

Today, EPA announced emergency exemptions for the states of Oklahoma and Arkansas allowing them to permit the use of SurfaceWise2, a residual antiviral surface coating, in American Airlines airport facilities and planes. SurfaceWise2 is already in use in American Airlines airport facilities and planes in certain locations in Texas under a previous EPA emergency exemption.

EPA has also revised the terms of use for SurfaceWise2 for all emergency exemptions. EPA’s initial emergency exemptions specified that the product remained effective for seven days. According to its updated labels, SurfaceWise2 provides residual surface control of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces that are undisturbed for up to 30 days. However, SurfaceWise2 should be reapplied every time surfaces are disinfected to ensure continuous product performance. Exposure to prolonged wetness may adversely impact the efficacy of the product.

SurfaceWise2 is meant to inactivate viruses that land on a surface between regular cleanings. This product is not a replacement for routine cleaning and disinfection with products from EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. EPA recommends that facilities continue to follow the cleaning and disinfection recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Use of this product does not eliminate the need for critical precautions like mask wearing, social distancing, and ventilation. Always follow CDC, state and local public health guidelines. Please note that according to the CDC, while “it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes,” the virus is thought to spread mainly through close contact between individuals.

For more information, see EPA’s website.

EPA Approves Emergency Exemption for Antiviral Air Treatment

This original announcement was published by the EPA on January 16, 2020. Click here for more information.

 

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced approval of an emergency exemption request for use of Grignard Pure, as an additional tool in limited use situations to aid in the fight against COVID-19.

EPA is issuing an emergency exemption for Grignard Pure to be used in certain indoor spaces where social distancing can be challenging. Use of this product does not eliminate the need for critical precautions like mask wearing, social distancing, and ventilation. Always follow CDC, state and local public health guidelines.

This exemption has been granted to Georgia and Tennessee state governments. After carefully reviewing safety and efficacy data, EPA has determined the product will provide another tool to assist States with approved emergency exemptions during the current public health emergency. EPA’s approval will allow the product to be applied in Georgia and Tennessee in certain indoor spaces where adherence to current public health guidelines is impractical or difficult to maintain. Areas of particular concern include breakrooms, locker rooms, bathrooms, lobbies, elevators, eating areas, and food preparation areas within health care facilities, intrastate transportation, food processing facilities, and indoor spaces within buildings—including government facilities—where people are conducting activity deemed essential by the state.

“Today, we are approving the first-ever airborne antiviral product that will help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “There is no higher priority for EPA than protecting the health and safety of Americans and I want to thank those—both within EPA and those outside—who have worked to achieve this important milestone.”

“We are deeply grateful to the diligent teams at EPA who were tireless in evaluating and validating the health, safety and efficacy of Grignard Pure as the first-of-its-kind antimicrobial air treatment,” said Etienne Grignard, co-founder and CEO, Grignard Pure. “Grignard Pure is a passion and a mission for us. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been singularly focused on making Grignard Pure a critical component in achieving the shared commitment we all have—helping people feel safer, getting industries and our economy back to full operation, and using science, technology and engineering to find solutions that move us past the ravages of COVID-19.”

EPA is approving these emergency exemption requests from Georgia and Tennessee under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Application levels are monitored through visual assessment, or sensors which automatically regulate the amount of product suspended in the air. Additionally, the EPA-approved label requires that signs be posted at every entrance to the spaces notifying the public that the space has been treated.

Triethylene glycol (TEG) is the active ingredient in Grignard Pure. TEG is commonly used in fog machines for concerts and theatre productions. EPA reviewed all available data on this product’s effectiveness and safety and concluded that it is capable of killing 98 percent of airborne SARS-CoV-2. TEG may be an irritant for sensitive populations.

For more information, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/section-18-emergency-exemption-requests-and-coronavirus-covid-19.

EPA Releases Temporary Guidance Regarding Certification of Pesticide Applicators During COVID-19

This announcement was published by the EPA on July 28, 2020. Click here for more!

EPA has released a temporary guidance regarding the certification of pesticide applicators of restricted use pesticides that offers flexibility during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The Agency is aware that state, tribal and federal certifying authorities may need to make temporary changes to their existing pesticide applicator certification programs during this time. Given the evolving circumstances and the urgency involved, EPA has determined that certain temporary changes to their programs should be preapproved and may be implemented provided that they are not likely to significantly diminish applicator competence or undermine future certification activities and all conditions are met.

Currently, certifying authorities can make non-substantial changes to their certification plans without prior EPA approval, but need to notify EPA within 90 days or with the required annual report, whichever occurs first.

So long as such temporary changes are reported to EPA as outlined in the guidance, EPA does not intend to impose sanctions on certification programs that miss reporting deadlines specified in the CPA rule. EPA will instead accept notifications included in the annual reporting, which are due December 31, 2020.

EPA is temporarily pre-approving substantial modifications if the modifications meet all the following conditions:

  • Time-limited to no later than Dec. 31, 2021, and revocable within 90 days or less by the certifying authority if EPA determines that the modification is no longer appropriate;
  • Consistent with pesticide labeling;
  • Consistent with EPA’s Certification of Pesticide Applicators regulation;
  • Will not significantly diminish applicator competency; and,
  • Will not undermine future certification activities.

To read the temporary guidance in full, visit our webpage.

Additional Information

Certifying authorities must still obtain EPA’s advance approval of substantial modifications of their certification plans that do not meet all the above conditions. State and tribal certifying authorities should contact their EPA regional office for more information or to request approvals for substantial modifications to be made in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

This temporary guidance also includes a modification to the recertification period for certificates issued to certified applicators that apply restricted use pesticides in Indian country under EPA’s Plan for the Federal Certification of Applicators of Restricted Use Pesticides within Indian country. Certified applicators holding an EPA-issued certificate based on a currently valid underlying certificate from another jurisdiction (e.g., state-issued) are granted an extension that aligns with the expiration date of the underlying certificate.

This guidance is temporary, and EPA will assess the continued need and scope of this temporary guidance on an ongoing basis. EPA will provide notice here under “Certifying Pesticide Applicators” at least seven days prior to terminating this guidance.

EPA Provides Consumers Additional Options for COVID-19 Disinfectants

This original announcement was published by the EPA on July 23, 2020. Click here for more!

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added 32 new surface disinfectants to List N, the agency’s list of products expected to kill SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

“Since day one, EPA’s priority has been to provide the public with easy access to the information they need to protect themselves and their families from the virus that causes COVID-19,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Through our efforts to expand List N, we are ensuring that Americans have a broad set of approved products to clean and disinfect surfaces to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.”

Disinfectants can qualify for inclusion on List N three ways:

  1. The product has been tested against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).
  2. The product has demonstrated efficacy against a different coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).
  3. The product has demonstrated efficacy against a pathogen that is harder to kill than SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

EPA has added 32 new products to List-N. These products have already been approved as tuberculocidal. While they have not yet been tested against SARS-CoV-2, they are approved for killing the pathogen that causes tuberculosis and are expected to kill SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) when used according to the label (category three noted above).

Many tuberculocidal products are potent disinfectants and have a long history of use for cleaning hospitals and other health care settings. When using such products, it is critical to follow the label directions, including the precautionary statements.

Disinfectant products may be marketed and sold under multiple different brand and product names. Therefore, List N users should use the first two sections of a product’s registration number when searching List N, rather than its brand name. For example, if EPA Reg. No. 12345-12 is on List N, you can buy EPA Reg. No. 12345-12-2567 and know you’re getting an equivalent product. For more information on using an EPA registration number to search List N, see our FAQ at https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/frequent-questions-about-disinfectants-and-coronavirus-covid-19.

Throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency, EPA has provided the American public with information on disinfecting surfaces against SARS-CoV-2. For more information about EPA’s response to COVID-19 visit: https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus

EPA takes action to help Americans disinfect indoor spaces efficiently and effectively

This original announcement was published by the EPA on July 7, 2020. Click here for more! 

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to ensure that Americans are able to disinfect public spaces effectively and efficiently to control SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The newly released guidance outlines what information registrants need to submit in order to expedite the review of requests to add electrostatic sprayer application directions to disinfectant product labels for use against SARS-CoV-2.

“Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces continues to be an effective way to reduce the spread of the virus,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “With this guidance, EPA is ensuring offices, schools, and local governments have access to as many effective and approved surface disinfectant products as possible—including those designed to disinfect large indoor spaces.”

Electrostatic spraying has drawn increased interest through the public health emergency because of the need to disinfect large indoor spaces (e.g., schools, offices, businesses) or areas with many surfaces. Unlike conventional spraying methods, electrostatic sprayers apply a positive charge to liquid disinfectants as they pass through the nozzle. The positively charged disinfectant is attracted to negatively charged surfaces, which allows for efficient coating of hard nonporous surfaces.

EPA’s new guidance covers requests to add electrostatic spraying directions to both new and currently registered disinfectant products—including those on EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2—that require review under Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA). Today’s guidance builds on EPA’s previously announced expedited review of certain submissions for products intended for use against SARS-CoV-2.

When using these products, always follow the directions and safety information on the label. A disinfectant product’s safety and effectiveness may change based on how it is used. If a product’s label does not include disinfection directions for electrostatic spraying, EPA has not reviewed any data on whether the product is safe and effective when used by this method.

EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released updated guidance to help facility operators and families properly clean and disinfect spaces. The guidance provides step-by-step instructions for public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes. EPA has compiled a list of disinfectant products, including ready-to-use sprays, concentrates, and wipes, that can be used against COVID-19.

For information on EPA’s efforts to help address the novel coronavirus, visit: https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus.

EPA approves first surface disinfectant products tested on the SARS-CoV-2 virus

This original announcement was published by the EPA on July 7, 2020. Click here for more!

 

Throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has worked to provide the American public with information about how to safely and effectively kill the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, on surfaces. Last week, EPA approved two products, Lysol Disinfectant Spray (EPA Reg No. 777-99) and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist (EPA Reg No. 777-127), based on laboratory testing that shows the products are effective against SARS-CoV-2.

“EPA is committed to identifying new tools and providing accurate and up-to-date information to help the American public protect themselves and their families from the novel coronavirus,”said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “EPA’s review of products tested against this virus marks an important milestone in President Trump’s all of government approach to fighting the spread of COVID-19.”

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. Because novel viruses are typically not immediately available for laboratory testing, EPA established guidance for Emerging Viral Pathogens.

In January 2020, the agency activated the guidance for the first time in response to the SARS-CoV-2 public health emergency. The guidance allows product manufacturers to provide EPA with data, even in advance of an outbreak, that shows their products are effective against harder-to-kill viruses than SARS-CoV-2. Through this guidance and the agency’s review of newly registered products, EPA’s list of products that meet the agency’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2 (known as List N) includes more than 420 products. In many cases, the agency was able to approve claims in as little as 14 days.

This week, EPA updated the entries for 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 the agency 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.

All products on EPA’s List N meet the agency’s criteria for effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2. When using an EPA-registered disinfectant, follow the label directions for safe, effective use. Make sure to follow the contact time, which is the amount of time the surface should be visibly wet. Read the agency’s infographic on how to use these products.

Additional information on EPA’s coronavirus efforts: https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus

EPA Providing Excess PPE for Fighting COVID

This original announcement was published by the EPA on June 13, 2020. Click here for more

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to transfer an additional 22,000 pieces of excess personal protective equipment (PPE) to emergency and health professionals on the COVID-19 frontlines. The Agency maintains a supply of PPE for mission-critical work such as the laboratory work conducted at EPA’s Environmental Science Center at Fort Meade, Md., as well as responding to emergencies, including chemical, oil, radiological and biological incidents.

“Having sufficient personal protective equipment is crucial for the emergency services personnel and health professionals on the frontlines of combatting COVID-19,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “EPA is making excess PPE available to these responders, and we also stand ready to perform missions we may be called upon to fulfill in this ongoing fight.”

“EPA is committed to ensuring any excess equipment we have on hand be made available to first responders combatting the coronavirus.” said EPA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “We are actively working with FEMA officials to provide what limited quantities of equipment we have to those who need it most.”

“EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention is proud to donate 8,800 pieces of PPE to help protect those who are tirelessly working on the front lines to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “Whether it is donating PPE, practicing social distancing, or using an EPA-approved disinfectant that is effective against the novel coronavirus, we all have a part to play in this public health emergency.”

EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Office partnered with EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention’s Microbiology and Analytical Chemistry Laboratories to identify excess personal protective equipment after assessing how much equipment would be needed to support EPA’s essential functions. Among the items are protective disposable gloves, eye protection, lab coats and full-body protective coverall suits. EPA will donate excess equipment while still maintaining its emergency response readiness.

About EPA’s Microbiology Laboratory:

The Microbiology Laboratory, located at Fort Meade, Md., is an integral part of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. The laboratory is responsible for the standardization of existing test methods and the development and validation of methods for new uses and emerging pathogens for antimicrobial products with public health claims—products used to kill or suppress the growth of pathogenic microorganisms on inanimate objects and surfaces.

About EPA’s Analytical Chemistry Laboratory:

The Analytical Chemistry Laboratory, located at Fort Meade, Md., also provides EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention with scientific, laboratory, and technical support through chemical analyses of imported products and other materials for pesticides and related chemicals.

To view EPA’s list of disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, visit https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2 .

For information about EPA’s involvement with the COVID-19 response, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus.

EPA Releases Temporary Guidance on Respiratory Protection During COVID-19

This original announcement was published by the EPA on June 1, 2020. Click here for more

There is no higher priority for EPA than protecting the health and safety of Americans, especially during the COVID-19 public health emergency. EPA has heard from states and stakeholders about Personal Protective Equipment shortages in the agricultural sector. To respond to these reports and to help ensure the health and safety of America’s farmers, EPA is providing temporary guidance regarding respiratory protection requirements for agricultural pesticide handlers. Our guidance aligns with recent OSHA memos on respirators while addressing EPA’s responsibilities under FIFRA and the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS).

Additional Information

The temporary guidance outlines approaches to address the unavailability of required respiratory protection and respiratory fit testing that should first be exhausted before considering any alternative options. Options include:

  • Use alternative NIOSH-approved respirators offering equivalent or greater respiratory protection than those required on the pesticide label;
  • Hire commercial applicator services with enough respirators and respiratory protection capabilities;
  • Opt to use agricultural pesticide products that do not require respirators; or
  • Delay pesticide applications until another compliant option is available.

If the above options are exhausted, EPA’s guidance provides additional options with strict terms, conditions, and exhaustion requirements to minimize potential incremental risks to workers:

  • Reuse and extended use of disposable N95 filter facepiece respirator;
  • Use of “expired” respirators;
  • Use of respirators certified in certain other countries or jurisdictions meeting protective conditions outlined; or
  • Delay the annual respirator “fit test.”

This is a temporary policy. EPA will assess the continued need for and scope of this temporary guidance on a regular basis. To read the guidance in full and to learn more about EPA’s Worker Protection Standard, visit this webpage.