We mention the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) List N tool a lot on this blog. That’s because it’s the U.S. government’s authoritative list on disinfectants capable of killing the COVID-19 virus. Over the past 12 months it has become a vital resource for everyone, from professional cleaners to average folks disinfecting their homes.
At EnviroPro Solutions, every disinfectant we carry is on EPA List N. BUT that doesn’t actually mean they were tested against COVID-19. Most disinfectants on the list haven’t been studied directly with COVID-19.
But not to worry — they still more than qualify for getting the job done. And here’s why.
Effective against harder-to-kill viruses
It’s a general plan for speeding up the confirmation of products that can kill a new pathogen. Companies are allowed to submit their products for approval if they’ve already been proven to kill a pathogen that’s tougher than the new pathogen in question.
With this plan already in place, the EPA was able to move at lightning speed. By March of 2020, the List N Tool was live and accessible to the public.
What viruses are ‘harder-to-kill’ than COVID-19?
We can think about viruses belonging to one of three basic structural categories. They are:
- Enveloped viruses
- Large non-enveloped viruses
- Small non-enveloped viruses
Enveloped viruses have an outer lipid layer that protects them. Ironically, its those protective lipids that disinfectants interact with to kill the virus. This makes enveloped viruses the easiest type of virus to kill. COVID-19 is an enveloped virus.
Non-enveloped viruses lack any protective layer. This makes non-enveloped viruses harder for disinfectants to kill. Small non-enveloped viruses are the hardest to kill of all. Examples include Rhinovirus and Norovirus.
The bottom line: If a disinfectant can kill non-enveloped viruses, it can almost certainly kill an enveloped virus like COVID-19. That’s how many disinfectants on List N came to be rated effective at killing COVID-19 by the EPA, including products like 64 Millennium Q.
How to use the EPA List N tool
It may seem a bit complicated at first glance. However, the List N tool is remarkably simple once you get the hang of it.
To start, you can find the list at: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-coronavirus-covid-19
To find a disinfectant on the list, follow these five steps:
- Click the blue bar that says “Click Here to Find a Product to Kill Coronavirus (COVID-19)” to open the application.
- Click the white button that says “Launch” to reach the list.
- You can now search by any of the criteria on the left side of the page. If you already have a disinfectant in mind, the easiest way to find it is to search by EPA Registration Number.
- Locate the EPA registration number on the product listing or on its packaging. It should have three segments. Only enter the first two segments (i.e. 1234-12.)
- The list will then show you the general listing for that product. Note: the company and product name may not match the product you’re considering. Those first two segments in the EPA registration number only take you to an equivalent product. That’s not always the exact product you’re looking at.
The List N results will tell you what type of surfaces that disinfectant is approved for, how long it needs to be in contact to kill COVID-19, and some use sites that the disinfectant is approved for. Take our 128 E-Fecticide disinfectant as an example. First, we enter its EPA Registration #6836-365. Then the list tells us it is:
- Approved for use on hard, non-porous surfaces.
- Must be in contact with a surface for five minutes to kill COVID-19.
- Can be used in healthcare, institutional and residential sites.
EnviroPro Solutions and EPA List N
At EnviroPro Solutions, every disinfectant is currently included on the EPA List N. Just follow the instructions on the bottle label, and your surfaces will be thoroughly disinfected.