The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, D.C., will conduct an “internal pilot” in conjunction with the agency’s Design for the Environment (DfE) program to explore a policy change that would allow hard-surface disinfectants and sanitizers to attain environmental preferability claims.

The internal pilot is intended to increase the understanding between the EPA’s DfE scientists and the pesticide registration review staff. By law disinfectants are regulated as pesticides.

“The internal pilot announced by the EPA is a prudent and necessary step in developing ‘green’ claims policy that ensures the continued efficacy of disinfectants and that allows purchasers to make informed decisions when selecting products with a preferred environmental, safety and health profile,” says Stephen Ashkin, president, The Ashkin Group LLC, Bloomington, Ind.

Ashkin, along with ISSA legislative affairs director Bill Balek were appointed to a work group established to make a policy recommendation in regard to allowing claims of environmental preferability for pesticide products, including disinfectants.

Under the program, the DfE and Office of Pesticide Program (OPP) staff will conduct evaluations of products previously recognized under the DfE program that mirror antimicrobial pesticide formulations.

After the evaluation, the DfE and OPP scientists will discuss the results and consider modifications to the criteria. If the EPA decides it is beneficial to continue the pilot program, the agency plans to launch an external pilot that would presumably involve the entire industry.