EPA to Explore Possibility of Third-Party Certification for Disinfectants

February 11, 2009

By Rochelle Davis, Founding Executive Director

I am not one to get overly excited about technical and bureaucratic developments, but I was pleased to see that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that they will conduct an “internal pilot” in conjunction with the agency’s Design for the Environment formulator program (DfE) to explore a policy change that would allow claims of environmental preferability in regard to disinfectants and sanitizers used on nonporous hard surfaces. 

According to a press release from The Ashkin Group, LLC:

The purpose of the internal pilot program is to increase the understanding between EPA’s DfE scientists and the pesticide registration review staff as to what a review for environmental preferability entails and how that might interface with the pesticide registration process. Note: By law, disinfectants are regulated as “pesticides.”

There has been much confusion in the marketplace in recent years over the proper way to
articulate the environmental attributes of disinfectants. This announcement is a great step toward clearing up that confusion. 

At the Healthy Schools Campaign, we are strong supporters of third party certification programs that allow purchasers to make better, more informed decisions.  As more schools move toward green cleaning and have questions about which disinfectants and sanitizers are preferable for health and the environment, this type of third-party certification in increasingly important.

I will be following the development of the pilot project closely and am hoping that a clear and understandable resolution is reached.

To learn more about third-party certifications for green cleaning, visit greencleanschools.org.