An official website of the United States government.

News Releases

News Releases from HeadquartersChemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP)

EPA provides critical information to the American public about safe disinfectant use

04/23/2020
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is continuing its efforts to provide critical information on surface disinfectant products that can be used to protect the health of all Americans throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency. In support of these efforts, EPA now has nearly 400 products that have qualified to be effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This week the agency also published an overview of its actions and resources related to disinfection against the novel coronavirus.

"EPA is dedicated to its mission of protecting human health and we want all Americans to have access to effective and approved surface disinfectant products," said Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. "We also want everyone follow the directions on the product so that we can safely use registered disinfectants and provide critical protection to our families."

When using an EPA-registered surface disinfectant, always follow the product's directions and remember:

  • Never apply the product to yourself or others. Do not ingest disinfectant products. This includes never applying any product on List N (the agency's list of disinfectants to use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19) directly to food.
  • Never mix products unless specified in the use directions. Certain combinations of chemicals will create highly toxic acids or gases.
     
  • Wash the surface with soap and water before applying disinfectant products if the label mentions pre-cleaning.
     
  • Follow the contact time listed for your product on List N. This is the amount of time the surface must remain visibly wet to ensure efficacy against the virus. It can sometimes be several minutes.
  • Wash your hands after using a disinfectant. This will minimize your exposure to the chemicals in the disinfectant and the pathogen you are trying to kill.
     

EPA provides additional information on disinfectant safety messages on its twitter feeds, @EPA and @EPAChemSafety. These channels will be updated with new materials throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

EPA is also continuing to add additional chemicals to its list of commodity inert ingredients. These actions are intended to help address supply chain issues for EPA-registered disinfectants and other pesticides. It allows manufacturers of already-registered EPA products to change the source of listed inert ingredients.

To learn more about disinfectant safety, see this guide from our partner, the National Pesticide Information Center, about using disinfectants to control COVID-19 (http://npic.orst.edu/ingred/ptype/amicrob/covid19.html)