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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.

EPA Addresses Supply Chain Issues for Food-Contact Surface Sanitizer Products

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

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its third temporary modification to Pesticide Registration Notice 98-10 to include food-contact surface sanitizer products containing the active ingredient isopropyl alcohol.

This new time-limited amendment to PRN 98-10 extends some of the supply chain flexibilities in the April modification to products used in the food manufacture and preparation industries. Specifically, this temporary amendment expands these flexibilities to manufacturers of food-contact surface sanitizer products containing isopropyl alcohol. Additionally, isopropyl alcohol has been added to the list of active ingredients considered to be commodity chemicals by the temporary amendment.

These isopropyl alcohol sanitizer products are not to be applied directly to food. Instead, they are used to sanitize equipment and surfaces used in food manufacturing and food preparation.

EPA intends for these flexibilities to increase the availability of products for use against the novel coronavirus. In addition, EPA is responding to feedback from the food manufacture and preparation industries that they are experiencing challenges acquiring sanitizers used in production facilities processing low-moisture products like cereal, flour, and industrial baked goods.

Click here for more information. 

EPA Makes it Easier for Consumers to Find Disinfectant Products for Novel Coronavirus

This original announcement was published by the EPA on May 12, 2020. Click here for more information. 

WASHINGTON (May 12, 2020) —  Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its List N Tool, a new web-based application (app)  that allows smart phone users and others to quickly identify disinfectant products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The agency also announced new actions to ensure that new disinfectant products that are safe and effective to use against SARS-CoV-2 can be added to EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 as quickly as possible.

“In support of President Trump’s plan to reopen America, EPA is working to ensure that all Americans can easily access the best information on surface disinfectants as we work together to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This new app will help put important information in the hands of businesses, governments, and American consumers when they are making decisions about how best to clean and disinfect buildings.”

For more than two months, EPA has provided the public with List N, a list of more than 400 surface disinfectant products that meet the agency’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2. This week, the agency transformed the data from the List N webpage into a browser-based web app that allows users to rapidly identify the disinfectant products best suited for their needs. Users can search by use site (e.g., home, business, health care, etc.), surface type (e.g., hard, non-porous surfaces like countertops; porous surfaces like fabrics), contact time (i.e., the time the product needs to be visibly wet), EPA registration number, active ingredient, or product name.

EPA is also continuing its efforts to ensure that List N is updated as quickly as possible with new disinfectant products that are safe and effective to use against SARS-CoV-2. Building on the agency’s previously announced expedited review for EPA-registered disinfectants that do not require review of new efficacy data, today, the agency announced an expedited review process for other products that would like to qualify for EPA’s List N. These other products include currently registered products that require a data review and applications for new disinfectant products.

EPA’s Expedited Review of Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) Submissions for Products Eligible for Inclusion on List N: Submission Information for Registrants also contains important information to submitters on how to submit a product for expedited review. This does not replace the review process of all other submitted antimicrobial products.

EPA may also consider expedited review of new active ingredients or new uses for currently registered active ingredients (including higher application rates, new application methods such as fogging and electrostatic sprayers, or use sites such as porous surfaces).

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 our infographic on how to use these products.

EPA Continues to Add New Surface Disinfectant Products to Combat COVID-19

This original announcement was published by the EPA on April 3, 2020 and can be accessed here

 

WASHINGTON (April 2, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is continuing its commitment to increasing the availability of surface disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. List N: Disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2 (List N) now contains over 360 products and has enhanced functionality to allow users to sort these products by surface type and use site. EPA is also continuing to expedite the review process for new disinfectants.

Previously, all products on List N had to have either an EPA emerging viral pathogen claim or have demonstrated efficacy against another human coronavirus. Now, List N also includes products on EPA’s List G: Products effective against norovirus and List L: Products effecting against the Ebola virus as these products also meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2 .

In addition, EPA has updated List N to include the types of surfaces products can be used on (e.g., hard or soft) and use sites (e.g., hospital, institutional or residential). Products that can be applied via fogging are now noted in the formulation column. This additional information will empower the public to choose products that are appropriate for their specific circumstances.

To help the public better understand List N: Disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2 , EPA has updated the content on List N and the Frequently Asked Questions about disinfectants related to coronavirus. The FAQ update provides new information on pesticide safety, enforcement, and pesticide devices. It also includes enhanced explanations of why List N products are qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2 and how these products can be used most effectively.

EPA has continued to adapt its processes to ensure the supply of disinfectants keeps pace with demand. EPA recently announced additional flexibility that allows manufacturers of already-registered EPA disinfectants to obtain certain active and inactive (i.e., inert) ingredients from any source of suppliers without checking with the Agency first. Today, EPA added 48 additional chemicals to its list of commodity inert ingredients . This regulatory flexibility aims to help ease the production and availability of EPA-registered disinfectants.

EPA also is expediting all requests for company numbers and establishment numbers to enable new pesticide-producing establishments to come online as quickly as possible.

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

Farms Could See Shortage of Protective Gear Amid Covid-19 Needs

This original article was published by Bloomberg Law on March 26, 2020 and can be accessed here.

Farmworkers are bracing for potential shortages of protective equipment used to apply pesticides as supplies are diverted to emergency health care needs in response to the coronavirus.

When applying chemicals to fields and orchards, pesticide applicators use much the same personal protective equipment (PPE) as health care workers: protective suits, gloves, and single-use N95 respirators.

While many farmers and spraying contractors report having enough supplies for the spring growing season, they worry that shortages today could cut availability of the gear later in the year.

Feeling the Pinch

Carl Atwell, president of Gempler’s, a Wisconsin-based supplier of agriculture and landscaping PPE, said orders for disposable respirators and masks placed today wouldn’t arrive until June. “And that’s just an estimate,” he said.

Atwell said he’s also seeing shortages of chemical-resistant gloves, Tyvek suits, goggles, and respirator masks for use on farms.

“All of our major suppliers is being impacted,” he said, “Whether it’s Dupont, 3M, Honeywell—they’re all being told by the government to divert supply to hospitals first.”

This week both Honeywell International Inc. and 3M Co. announced plans to ramp up production of N95 masks to meet the critical needs of health care workers and emergency responders. 3M said it doubled its global output of masks and respirators to a rate of nearly 100 million per month—more than 90% of which are designated for health care workers.

Reusing Gloves

For many North American farmers, the timing of the coronavirus pandemic came after they had purchased crop protection chemicals and gear for the spring season.

“Thankfully, we’re were already pretty well stocked in terms of PPE for our mixers and handlers,” said Jeff Bunting, crop protection division manager for Growmark, an Illinois-based company that handles pesticide application contracts for farmers.

But the situation could be different in a few months if orders are still backed up as farmers try to restock for late-season spraying, or for next year, Bunting said.

Tanette Feddick of Feddick Distributors, a Minnesota-based wholesale agricultural supplier, said her business sold 800 cases of dust masks in a week. It usually takes six months to sell that many, she said.

“At this point, all we can do is take people’s name, and put them on a list,” she said.

Some pesticide contracting companies are taking steps to try to extend the life of the gear they have in case supplies remain low.

“We can wash and reuse nitrile gloves, and try to conserve dust masks as much as possible,” said Joe Sinclair, president of Quality Ag Service, a full-service farm retailer and pesticide contractor.

‘Already a Big Problem’

Pesticides classified as “restricted use” can only be applied by certified applicators, and each pesticide product label lists PPE requirements. That label is a legal document designed to ensure pesticides are safely applied and the user is adequately protected.

Without proper protective clothing farmworkers can experience skin irritation, respiratory problems, or organ damage, and pregnant workers could have complications, said Iris Figueroa, a staff attorney with Farmworker Justice, a Washington, D.C., based advocacy group.

“This issue of workers being exposed to toxic chemicals was already a big problem before the pandemic, so I can only image what will happen now,” said Figueroa.

Of highest concern “given the current situation” of a virus that attacks the lungs, is respiratory protection needed for people working with fumigant pesticides or volatile chemicals, such as anhydrous ammonia fertilizer, she said.

Testing Center Closures

Because of coronavirus, many state agriculture departments are shutting down in-person testing centers, which manage certification programs for pesticide applicators.

Some states are able to offer certification courses online. And executive orders in states including Louisiana, Nebraska, Tennessee, Iowa, and Illinois, have extended the expiration dates for pesticide applicator licenses into 2021.

However, Growmark’s Bunting says that won’t address the issue of certifying new employees to apply pesticides, if and when they’re needed.

“You know we don’t have a lot of applicators that are licensed to apply restricted-used products,” he said. “If they get sick and we lose those people, that could be big problem for a farmers, and companies like ours.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Allington in Washington at aallington@bloombergenvironment.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory Henderson at ghenderson@bloombergenvironment.com; Rebecca Baker at rbaker@bloombergenvironment.com

EPA Takes Action to Assure Availability of Disinfectant Products for Use Against the Novel Coronavirus

This original announcement was published by the EPA on March 31, 2020 and can be accessed here.

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking further action to help ease the production and availability of EPA-registered disinfectants. EPA will temporarily allow manufacturers of certain already-registered EPA disinfectants to obtain certain active ingredients from any source of suppliers without checking with the agency first. This only applies to products on EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2. This action comes after last week’s announcement of EPA’s similar action on certain inert ingredients.

“It is critical that the supply of EPA-registered disinfectants keep up with the demand for these products,” said Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “By taking this action, EPA is better protecting public health by assuring the availability of surface disinfectants to use against the novel coronavirus.”

“We appreciate EPA’s continued partnership as we all work together to keep the supply chains for cleaning products running efficiently, particularly for the disinfectants that hospitals, manufacturers and consumers need to protect against the spread of coronavirus,” said Bryan Zumwalt, Executive Vice President for Public Affairs, Consumer Brands Association.

“We commend the EPA for acting quickly to remove regulatory barriers during these unprecedented times,” said Steve Caldeira, President & CEO of the Household & Commercial Products Association. “The EPA’s continued engagement with disinfectant manufacturers has been critically important as we all work together to protect the public health.”

EPA usually requires disinfectant manufacturers to first apply for and receive EPA approval prior to making a change in the source of the active ingredient. Under this amendment, manufacturers can source certain active ingredients from alternative suppliers, inform EPA, and immediately start production, provided that the resulting formulation is chemically similar to the current formulation. This will help alleviate reports of supply chain disruptions by pesticide registrants who manufacture disinfectant products on EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2.

EPA will assess the continued need for and scope of this temporary amendment on a regular basis and will update it if EPA determines modifications are necessary.

The eligible active ingredients are:

  • Citric Acid
  • Ethanol
  • Glycolic Acid
  • Hydrochloric Acid
  • Hypochlorous Acid
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • L-Lactic Acid
  • Sodium Hypochlorite

Pesticides, including disinfectants, contain both active and inactive (or inert) ingredients. Active ingredients prevent, destroy, repel or mitigate a pest, in this case SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. All other ingredients are called inert ingredients by federal law. They are important for product performance and usability.

Read the temporary amendment at: www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/prn-98-10-notifications-non-notifications-and-minor-formulation-amendments

For EPA information on COVID-19: www.epa.gov/coronavirus.

EPA Continues Efforts to Help Increase the Availability of Disinfectant Products for Use Against the Novel Coronavirus

This original announcement was published by EPA on March 26, 2020 and can be accessed here.

WASHINGTON (March 26, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took steps to provide additional flexibilities to manufacturers of disinfectants and other pesticides. EPA intends for these flexibilities to increase the availability of products for Americans to use against the novel coronavirus. After meeting with stakeholders last week and discussing supply chain challenges posed by the pandemic, EPA is allowing manufacturers to obtain certain inert ingredients—or inactive ingredients like sodium chloride or glucose—from different suppliers without checking with the agency for approval.

“EPA is committed to doing our part to help ensure American families, communities, business and hospitals have access to as many effective surface disinfectant products as possible,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “There is no higher priority for the Trump Administration than protecting the health and safety of Americans, and the steps we are taking today are helping put more products on the shelves without sacrificing important public health and environmental protections.”

Commodity inert ingredients are individual inert ingredients—there are approximately 280 total—that can be obtained from different producers with no significant differences in the ingredient. Applicants for pesticide registration or registration amendments can obtain commodity inert ingredients from various commercial sources without having to provide EPA with the supplier name and address. Only those inert ingredients designated as commodity inert ingredients would be eligible for this reduced Confidential Statement of Formula (CSF) reporting.

The agency is also continuing to expedite the review of submissions from companies requesting to add emerging viral pathogen claims to their already registered surface disinfectant labels. In many cases, the agency continues to be able to approve claims within 14 days, as resources allow, compared to the 90-day window these claims typically take. Today, EPA added 70 new surface disinfectants to EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (List N), bringing the total number of products on the list to more than 350.

It is important to note that List N only includes surface disinfectants registered by EPA. Other disinfection products like hand sanitizers and body wipes are regulated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Using an EPA-registered product in ways other than what is specified in the label is against the law and unsafe.

Click here for more!

Extension Response to COVID-19 & Resources for Extension Professionals Working Online

This original announcement was published by Aaron Weibe on March 16, 2020. Click here for more!

The purpose of this website is to provide a means through which Extension educators and administrators can share with their Cooperative Extension colleagues various resources and guides about teaching and working virtually, and provide a listing of current institutional responses to COVID-19. The current list of resources is just a beginning; it needs your additional contributions and expertise. As indicated by the note just below the search box on the right, you are encouraged to share other resources with us by sending an email to contact-us@extension.org.

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) Releases Update on Significant Public Health Pests

This announcement was published on March 17, 2020 to The Association of Structural Pest Control Regulatory Officials (ASCPRO) Board of Directors.

The professional pest control industry, an essential service, is responsible for the protection of public health, food and property. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have
prepared a list of significant public health pests https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/list-pestssignificant-public-health-importance, many of which are controlled by the professional pest control industry.

We play a vital role in protecting our nation’s public health and food supply. Pests can spread diseases such as West Nile virus, Lyme disease, salmonellosis, hantavirus and encephalitis. Stinging insects force half a million people to the emergency room every year. Cockroach and rodent allergens trigger asthma attacks in children; rodents contaminate or consume about 20% of the world’s food supply and bed bugs can cause allergic reactions. The importance of the pest control industry to the nation as an essential service cannot be understated.

Additionally, the pest control industry is trained, tested and certified in the use of personal
protective equipment (PPE). Technicians routinely employ the use respirators, eye protection, gloves, and clothing to conform with safety requirements established by EPA and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. With over 135,000 service technicians on the ground in the United States backed by over 19,000 companies, we stand ready to continue our fight against pests and diseases. With COVID-19 on the mind of all US citizens, and the world, we want to be sure we continue to serve the country in our battle with the diseases spread by pests.

As an essential service industry, we will continue to service the nation’s food production
facilities, grocery stores, medical institutions, multifamily housing units, warehouses, homes and businesses. We cannot afford to have our medical facilities, groceries stores or homes
uninhabitable due to pests and pest related diseases, particularly as we tell citizens to stay
home. There is not a segment of the food industry that could comply with federal sanitation and health regulations without an adequate pest control program.

As officials consider next steps regarding emergency response and potential restrictions on business operations in your states, we respectfully request that the pest control industry be recognized as an essential industry, providing a service that is indispensable in the effort to protect public health and our nation’s food supply.

Appended below is the language that was used in San Francisco and the California municipalities that have shelter in place orders.

For the purposes of this Order, “Essential Businesses” means:

i. Healthcare Operations and Essential Infrastructure;

ii. Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This includes stores that sell groceries and also sell other nongrocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences;


iii. Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;

iv. Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;

v. Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;

vi. Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities;

vii. Banks and related financial institutions;

viii. Hardware stores;

ix. Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses.

Sincerely,


Dominique Stumpf
Chief Executive Officer
National Pest Management Association
Cell: 703.887.1089