ICS Magazine

EPA to Recommend Green Claims for Disinfectants and Sanitizers

April 13, 2009

Bloomington, Indiana - April 13, 2009 - Officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated they will recommend the adoption of a policy that allows suppliers to make valid claims of “environmental preferability” in relation to the marketing of disinfectants and sanitizers.

This statement represents a significant departure from the Agency’s well entrenched policy that prohibits “green” claims to be made in conjunction with the promotion of any EPA registered product, including antimicrobial pesticides.

Specifically, EPA officials are expected to recommend that the Agency allow suppliers to make factual claims of environmental preferability in conjunction with disinfectants and sanitizers, according to Marty Monell of EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP).

In addition, Monell stated that she will also recommend that a policy be established that would allow the use of “ecolabels” in conjunction with the marketing of hard surface antimicrobial products. In this regard, it is expected that the latter policy would be conducted in cooperation with the EPA Design for the Environment Formulator Program (DfE).

“I am very pleased to see this development from EPA that will make it easier for Green consumers and manufacturers to clearly identify ‘greener’ disinfectants which in turn will help eliminate confusion in the marketplace and accelerate Green Cleaning in critical segments, such as health care, schools, and others with vulnerable populations,” said Stephen Ashkin who is President of The Ashkin Group.

The process is not yet complete, but EPA will make the recommendations on green claims at the April 22-23 meeting of EPA’s Pesticide Policy Dialogue Committee. The green claim policy recommendations are based on the work product of the EPA Working Group on Comparative Claims upon which sit Ashkin and Bill Balek, Director of Legislative Affairs for ISSA.

“This latest development by EPA is another indication of the growing maturity of Green Cleaning, and the increasing availability of environmentally preferable products that also meet the most stringent performance and health and safety requirements,” said Balek.

In the meantime, EPA and DfE will continue to conduct the internal pilot which is designed to identify the parameters under which the DfE ecolabel could be conferred upon certain disinfectants and sanitizers. Once the internal pilot is completed, it is expected that EPA will conduct an external pilot that presumably would open the process up to manufacturers and distributors.