MDARD reminding schools, businesses to only use EPA-approved disinfectants

LANSING — Cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting have become part of the fabric of Michigander’s daily lives as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But not all disinfectants are the same.

This week, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development reminded schools, businesses and consumers to only use products found on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list. All products on this list meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

“Disinfecting is a critical step in preventing and reducing the spread of viruses, bacteria, including SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19,” said Brian Verhougstraete, MDARD’s pesticide section manager. “Always remember that you are required by state and federal law to follow the label when using disinfectants. This includes safe use of the disinfectant, the types of approved surfaces an adhering to the contact time, which is the amount of time the surface should be visibly wet.”

Disinfectants are considered pesticides by law and are regulated by MDARD and the EPA. Complying with pesticide use laws can help provide a safe and healthy environment for the workplace, the public, and schools. As some school districts return to in-person instruction, it is important that districts ensure they have developed and are following an integrated pest management plan, officials said.

“All Michigan school districts, including charter and private schools, are required to implement a MDARD-approved IPM program. Following an approved IPM plan, school districts can safely use a variety of tools and techniques to reduce the spread of diseases like COVID-19,” Verhougstraete said.

MDARD reminded school districts to:

  • Use EPA-registered disinfectants and follow all label directions.
  • Do not use disinfectant as hand wipes or in place of sanitizers.
  • Keep out of reach of students, children should not use disinfectants.
  • Avoid touching wet surfaces and always wash hands after use.
  • Keep the surface wet for the required contact time. The contact time is the amount of time a surface must remain wet to work. If using disinfectant wipes, multiple wipes may be required.
  • Keep lids tightly closed and out of reach from children when not in use.

Additional information about the use of sanitizer, disinfectant and antimicrobials is available online.

For more information about MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division, visit michigan.gov/mdard. Additional resources and updates on the state’s COVId-19 response is available at michigan.gov/coronavirus.

Information around the COVID-19 outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

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