NCDA&CS checks regulation of antimicrobial pesticides for COVID-19 cleaning

by | May 25, 2020

U.S. EPA Releases Web-Based List N Tool For COVID-19 Disinfectants

It seems many people, including business owners and managers, are thinking about deep cleaning these days. That’s especially true as more businesses in North Carolina reopen and people transition from the governor’s “stay home” order to a “safer at home” advisory. While still not advised by the state’s health leaders, that means more people will be out and about in more places.

Many businesses are even required to have certain cleaning protocols in place now. So weeks ago, representatives from NCDA&CS’s Structural Pest Control & Pesticides Division were part of a meeting with the NCDHHS Division of Public Health and the North Carolina Department of Labor. All of them play some role in overseeing businesses that may be interested in taking on cleaning work related to COVID-19.

So if you’re an average citizen or a business looking for a company to do special cleaning, the good news is that there are state agencies doing some oversight.

There’s more good news if you’re just looking to do a basic cleaning. Soap/detergent and water may be sufficient on many surfaces, according to the CDC. If you want to be sure your disinfectant is approved for use against COVID-19, the EPA has a list called “List N.”

Hiring a special cleaning service
If you’re hiring a company to clean specifically for COVID-19, John Allran has some basic advice. He’s an environmental toxicologist in the NCDA&CS Structural Pest Control & Pesticides Division.

“Make sure they’re using an EPA registered product on List N, and be sure they’re using it properly according to the label,” Allran said.

He also mentioned that standard house cleaning services may not be prepared to do the type of work needed to effectively tackle cleaning related to COVID-19. There’s an extra need for personal protective equipment (PPE), special insurance for liability and other idiosyncrasies that only specialty cleaning companies may understand and be prepared for.

That’s not to say a basic cleaning isn’t sufficient. However, if you need or desire a different level of cleaning, only certain companies will be truly prepared.

Don’t expect a guarantee though. It’s highly unlikely that any company will provide a guarantee related to COVID-19 cleaning. Even well-prepared reputable companies probably can’t make that type of guarantee. So don’t be surprised if they can’t promise disinfection or sanitation. It may even be a red flag if a company offers a guarantee.

Again, just be sure the company is using a product on the EPA’s List N according to its label.

“Don’t do anything that’s going to endanger your health or the environment,” Allran reiterated for anyone doing the cleaning. “Use products that are on the list and use it according to its label.”

For cleaning service companies and pest control companies
Any pest control company that’s usually regulated through the Structural Pest Control & Pesticides Division and is considering offering COVID-19 services, can consult the division for guidance. The division posted some information online to help explain the complicated regulation of antimicrobial pesticides. Allran also recommended any company looking to offer special services should consult the Institute of Inspection Cleaning & Restoration Certification (IIRC) and the Restoration Industry Association (RIA).