PANDEMIC

EPA, CDC update guidance on disinfecting

EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today issued updated guidelines for facilities and consumers to properly clean and disinfect surfaces as part of the Trump administration's plan to reopen parts of the country.

"Proper and effective cleaning and disinfecting are important to help prevent the spread of COVID-19," CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a statement. "As our nation re-opens, this guidance is critical to help Americans return as safely as possible to work, school, and other daily activities within their communities."

The Trump administration is rolling out a three-part program called "Opening Up America Again" with guidance for local and state officials looking to reopen their economies.

EPA and CDC's updated guidance for cleaning and disinfecting applies to public areas, schools, workplaces and homes. The agencies suggest that plans to routinely disinfect surface areas be created and implemented to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

"The virus that causes COVID-19 can be killed if you use the right products," according to the guidance.

The agencies recommend using a list of approved disinfectants from EPA, but if those products are not available, alternative disinfectants can be used, such as a third of a cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water.

"Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together — this can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in. Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children," the guidance says.

Reports of exposure to cleaners and disinfectants increased significantly last month, a likely result of concerns over COVID-19, CDC reported (Greenwire, April 21).

"These guidelines will provide all Americans with information they need to help the country reopen as safely as possible," EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement. "These cleaning and disinfecting protocols will help ensure the health and safety of everyone in our homes, schools, offices and businesses."

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