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  • Georgie Davis

Disinfectant or Pesticide?

You may have noticed this wording on labels and safety data sheets: “This chemical is a pesticide product registered by the Environmental Protection Agency…”

So why are we disinfecting our counters with products that are listed as pesticides? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) The term "pesticide" refers not only to what we consider insecticides, but it actually applies to all the substances used to control pests.

Disinfectants and sanitizers kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These are considered pests just as insects, weeds, snails, and slugs are considered pests. The EPA classifies disinfectants as antimicrobial pesticides: “antimicrobial pesticides are substances or mixtures of substances used to destroy or suppress the growth of harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi on inanimate objects and surfaces”. More than 4000 antimicrobial products are currently registered with EPA and sold in the marketplace. Many of these products are registered to control infectious microorganisms and thus protect public health. For more detailed information from the EPA, check out their pesticide registration web page.

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