COVID-19 ISO Insights

EPA Releases List of Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Surface Disinfectants

March 16, 2020

By: Christopher Sirota, CPCU

As the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) explains, SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. The CDC notes that transmission of the virus is mainly airborne from person to person. However, transmission is also possible from contaminated surfaces.

Now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a press release describing some cleaning products that should effectively kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus on hard surfaces.

According to the press release, coronaviruses are not particularly difficult to kill on surfaces. Therefore, although the products on the EPA's list have not necessarily been tested to kill SARS-CoV2, they have been shown to be “effective against harder-to-kill viruses than SARS-CoV-2.”

Per the press release, the EPA utilized its Emerging Viral Pathogens Guidance and registration process which allows, in part, companies “to make limited claims of their product’s efficacy against such pathogens. The guidance outlines a voluntary, two stage process involving product label amendments and modification […].”

Furthermore, per the EPA's web page:

Once approved, a company can make certain off-label claims as specified in the policy in the event of an outbreak such as the SARS-CoV-2. For instance, according to the website, the company can include an efficacy statement on:

  • technical literature distributed to health care facilities, physicians, nurses, public health officials;
  • non-label-related websites;
  • consumer information services; and
  • social media sites.

Some Transportation Targeted for Disinfection

CNN has reported that the CDC has issued a recommendation for airlines to:

disinfect hard surfaces within 6 feet of an ill passenger, including seats and seatbacks, tray tables, seat belt latches, light and air controls, crew call buttons, overhead compartment handles, walls, bulkheads, windows, shades and video monitors.

Airlines should also clean bathrooms used by symptomatic passengers and dispose of any items that cannot be cleaned, such as pillows.

The New York Times has also reported that New York City's subway system, which transports over five million people daily, will have its stations and trains cleaned with disinfectant every 72 hours.

What about Hand Sanitizers?

A related article from Market Watch explains that the EPA's guidance does not apply to hand sanitizers, which are under the purview of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the article, sales for hand sanitizers “were 73% higher from mid-January to Feb. 22 than they were at the same time last year.”

Of note, the FDA has reportedly started a task force to monitor the market for products that falsely claim to prevent COVID-19.