The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and all of its federal, state, tribal, and local partners to move forward toward Opening up America Again. From practicing social distancing to continuing to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, all Americans can play a role in reducing the risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.
“As we reopen areas around the country, EPA encourages Americans to continue cleaning and disinfecting based on the guidelines we recently released in partnership with CDC,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Proper cleaning followed by disinfection using products on EPA’s approved list continues to be an effective way to help reduce the spread of the disease.”
“Cleaning and disinfection plays an important role in preventing the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Margaret Kitt, Deputy Incident Manager for CDC’s Community and Health Systems Team, COVID-19 Response. “This guidance is intended for all Americans, whether you own a business, run a school, or are focused on keeping yourself and your family safe and healthy at home.”
EPA and CDC recently released updated guidance to help facility operators and families properly clean and disinfect spaces. The guidance provides step-by-step instructions for public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes. EPA has compiled a list of disinfectant products, including ready-to-use sprays, concentrates, and wipes, that can be used against COVID-19. When using these products, always follow the directions and safety information on the label including leaving the product on the surface long enough to kill the virus, rinsing off the product to avoid ingesting it, and putting the product out of reach of children right away.
It is also important to avoid over-using or stockpiling disinfectants or personal protective equipment (such as gloves). This can result in shortages of critical products needed for emergencies. In the event that disinfectant products on the EPA list are not available, the guidance provides other techniques for disinfecting surfaces that are also effective in reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
EPA is also working with CDC to expand research on the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including environmental cleanup and disinfection, wastewater virus detection, and salivary antibody assay development. These efforts will help EPA scientists and our federal partners develop a greater understanding of how to clean and disinfect in real-world situations so that the nation can continue to reduce the risk of infection.
For information on EPA’s efforts to help address the novel coronavirus and to view the joint guidance, please visit EPA’s coronavirus website: https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus