Infection Prevention FAQ with Jim Flieler

By: Jim Flieler, Vice President of Sales North America, Charlotte Products Ltd.

Lately, we’ve often referred to lists of disinfectants that are registered by government agencies including Health Canada and the U.S. EPA to be effective against COVID-19. In fact, these government agencies have been registering disinfectants for a very long time to help end users ensure that they are effectively preventing the spread of all types of infection within their facilities. 

Product registration is an essential element of disinfection, helping to ensure you are safely and effectively removing pathogens from surfaces in your facilities. I often get questions about product registration from customers and end users who are confused about why it matters. Here I’d like to answer some of those frequently asked questions.

What does product registration mean?
In the United States and Canada, any product that claims to be a disinfectant must first be registered by a government agency. When I refer to product registration, I’m specifically referring to the DIN number provided by Health Canada or the U.S. EPA’s registered disinfectant product number.

What is the product registration process in the United States?

In the U.S., a cleaning product is registered as a pesticide by the EPA under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Surface disinfectants are categorized as pesticides in the U.S., and FIFRA regulates the distribution, sale and use. Pesticides are any substances or mixture of substances intended to prevent, destroy, or repel pests.  According to FIFRA, a “pest” is defined as: 

“(1) any insect, rodent, nematode, fungus, weed, or (2) any other form of terrestrial or aquatic plant or animal life or virus, bacteria, or other microorganism (except viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms on or in living man or other animals)”. 

What is the product registration process in Canada?

Disinfectants can be regulated by either Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) or the Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD). Just like in the U.S., PMRA is given authority to regulate disinfectants through the Pest Control Act (PCA) and the Pest Control Products Regulations. NNHPD is given authority to regulate disinfectants through the Food and Drugs Act and the ensuring Food and Drugs Regulations.

How do I know if a disinfectant product is registered for use against SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19)?

The EPA reviews and registers antimicrobial pesticides, which include disinfectants for use on pathogens like SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Products expected to kill SARS-CoV-2 are added to EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), which shows products that are effective against COVID-19.

Health Canada is working with disinfectant manufacturers and industry associations to inform Canadians of the products that can be used to help against the spread of COVID-19.

Health Canada also has a list of hard-surface disinfectants that are likely to be effective for use against (COVID-19). This list is updated regularly.

How do I know that a disinfectant product is registered?

You can look up the list of product registration directly on the website for the U.S. EPA or Health Canada. In addition, your product registration numbers should be printed clearly on the product label. You may also always ask your distributor to help you verify product registration if you are having difficulty finding verification.

What is the relevant information on my disinfectant product label?

The label, or Safety Data Sheet (SDS), of your disinfectant product is the law. Everything you need to know, from proof of product registration with your government agency to the dwell time needed for that product, will be listed clearly on the label. You will also be able to read the health hazards associated with your product on the label. Under the Directions for Use section of the disinfectant label, you will see instructions on dilution as well as the amount of time to leave the product wet on the surface and the microorganisms the product is effective against. 

Infection control isn’t rocket science, but it does take a fundamental understanding of some basic principles to get it right. The five critical security elements of disinfecting provide an overview of these principles, which should serve as the foundation for any training program focused on infection prevention protocol. Each of these elements is equally as important in contributing to healthy, safe spaces. We’ve published FAQs for each step HERE .

Have an additional question? Contact an expert at Charlotte Products to ask your question, or learn more about our infection control programs.