Some pest management firms are considering adding disinfection services to their operation to help protect the health and safety of their community, and to add a new service line to their business. However, there are many safety and regulatory factors that must be considered before applying disinfectant products. This section provides a brief outline of those elements that your business must take into account before providing these services.
NEW Online Learning Course! Understanding Antimicrobial and Disinfectant Product Labels
This free, 15-minute course provides a general overview of disinfectant and antimicrobial product labels for products used during COVID-19 disinfection services. Learn what products have been registered with the EPA as disinfectants for COVID-19 and how to properly read a label to ensure you completely understand how to use a product effectively. Visit npmatraining.org for a list of all courses in the NPMA Online Learning Center and to access this new course.
May 27 Webinar Recording: Understanding Disinfection Principles and Personal Protection for COVID-19 Disinfection Services
Presented by Terri Rebmann, Ph.D., RN, CIC, FAPIC, St. Louis University, College for Public Health and Social Justice
Click here to view the webinar recording.
CDC/EPA Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes
CDC and EPA recently developed joint guidance for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes and is available here.
Direct links to the documents are available here:
EPA Cleaning and Disinfection Decision Tool
CDC EPA Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes
Antimicrobial products are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs. Although at this time no products are currently registered for the novel human coronavirus strain that is of current concern, EPA has published a list of products that are approved for use against this viral pathogen. A link to the EPA list can be found below.
Online Web-Based App to Identify Antimicrobials Registered for Use Against SARS-CoV-2
EPA has released an online app as a companion to its List N to help applicators search for and identify products that are registered for use against the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2). Click here to access the app.
In response to the outbreak, EPA has activated its Emerging Viral Pathogens Guidance for Antimicrobial Pesticides. This is a voluntary process for antimicrobial registrants to enable the use of certain EPA-registered disinfectant products against this emerging viral pathogen, as such new products may be added to EPA’s List of Registered Disinfectants.
Can I use fumigation or wide-area spraying to help control COVID-19?
EPA does not recommend use of fumigation or wide-area spraying to control COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you clean contaminated surfaces with liquid products, such as those provided on List N, to prevent the spread of disease. Read CDC's recommendations. Fumigation and wide-area spraying are not appropriate tools for cleaning contaminated surfaces.
Disinfectants in Canada are regulated by the Natural Health Products Directorate, Health Canada’s Health Products and Food Branch (HPFB), not the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). A list of registered disinfectant products in Canada can be found here.
Public Health Ontario has released this guidance on Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings.
NOTE: Always Read and Follow All Label Directions
No single best practice or standard operating procedure has been established for disinfection services. Businesses are developing disinfection protocols based on label instructions for the antimicrobial products being incorporated into the service. As with every pesticide, always read and follow all label instructions. Efficacy of antimicrobial products is highly dependent on the length of time that the treated surface remains wet. Information about contact time will be specified on the label. This may impact equipment selection since droplet size and application volume varies between equipment type, which will impact drying time. Media reports have characterized fogging devices used for disinfection, however it should be noted that application methods and equipment will be specified on the label. Unless fogging is specified on the label, it should not be used.
New research published by scientists from National Institutes of Health (NIH), CDC, UCLA and Princeton University in The New England Journal of Medicine indicates that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.
RIA/IICRC Preliminary Report for Restoration Contractors Assisting Clients With COVID-19 Concerns
The Restoration Industry Association and the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification has published a Preliminary Report for Restoration Contractors Assisting Clients With COVID-19 Concerns which may be helpful if your company is considering developing a program.
EPA Guidance on Application Methods and Label Instructions
EPA has provided clarification on application methods specified on label directions. If a method (such as fogging) is not specifically listed on the label, applicators should refrain from using that method.
Most insurance policies required to conduct pest control business may not cover services related to disinfection services. It is important to contact your insurance provider to determine if additional coverage is required to provide these services.
Pest management firms that are considering adding disinfection services to their business should draft a stand-alone contract that outlines the parameters of those services. NPMA has added a “Commercial Sanitation Contract” to the list of downloadable, customizable sample contracts available here. As with any contract, an attorney should review this agreement before it is issued to clients.
When communicating service-related information that references disinfection, sterilization, or cleaning, using correct terminology is important. This ensures you are conveying accurate information to clients and staff. According to the Centers for Disease Control, disinfection is defined as the process of eliminating pathogenic microorganisms, except bacterial spores, on inanimate objects. Sterilization describes the process of eliminating microbial life through various physical or chemical methods. And, cleaning, is the removal of visible soil from objects or surfaces. While the differences between these definitions may be subtle, they are important and should be considered when drafting internal or external documents. Additional information on the CDC’s infection control definitions can be found here.
Regulations regarding disinfection services vary from state to state or province to province. In the US, some states require nothing more than a standard business license to utilize EPA registered general use disinfectants, other have specific antimicrobial categories incorporated into their regulatory programs. Additionally, some states have indicated that special considerations may be made to allow for antimicrobial use by companies with certifications in non-antimicrobial categories. Because the regulatory/licensing landscape is varied and somewhat fluid. NPMA recommends that businesses considering adding disinfection services to their operations consult the state or provincial lead agency for specific information on the requirements. An interactive map of US state lead agency contact information can be found here.
US States Requiring Licensing for Antimicrobial Applications
Please refer to this spreadsheet for information about antimicrobial application licensing requirements in your state. (Refer to final two columns.)
The following states have issued emergency regulations/guidance on antimicrobial applications:
The coronavirus is presenting challenges that few could envision a year ago. The pest management industry has stepped up into the front lines of protecting public health from pathogenic microbes by offering disinfection services. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and QualityPro are leaders in providing standards and training for pest management professionals. NPMA is working to provide resources to the industry, but given the time-sensitive nature of the pandemic we have compiled the following list of training resources relevant to disinfection from other well-known organizations. We applaud pest management professionals for adapting to the current pressing needs and encourage all companies to take the approach we use for pest management--a science-based approach to understanding microbes and their control.
National Institute of Decontamination Specialists (NIDS) Environmental Disinfection Training.
This 9 hour, science-heavy, exhaustive course on Environmental Disinfection was developed before coronavirus, but it teaches a technician to provide disinfections service for many microbes and settings. It was not designed for coronavirus specifically, but everything learned in the course applies to understanding the how and why of disinfection services. Sections of interest include PPE, pre-cleaning, legal considerations, equipment, and cleaning bird and rodent wastes. The course costs $599. Bulk discounts may be available if pre-paid. Access is granted for 30 days. A certificate of completion is issued upon completion.
International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA)
The target audience of the ISSA courses and credentials are cleaning professionals. In light of the pandemic they have formed a credential for commercial buildings that includes disinfection procedures.
Their relevant online training course is How to Clean and Disinfect for the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 ($300). https://www.issa.com/cleaning-and-disinfecting-for-the-coronavirus-sars-cov-2
American Hospitals Association (AHA)
CDC funded the American Hospitals Association to develop the STRIVE training. It is targeted to hospital workers, but has many narrated trainings and resources on low to intermediate level disinfection.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
There is debate in the safety community whether OSHA 40 Hour HAZWOPER certification compliance course is required, but some contracts are requiring it. Learn more on HAZWOPER here: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/emergencypreparedness/hazwoper/
Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
Offering free access to some e-books and webinars. Their audience are healthcare workers, but good information for pest control companies who are servicing healthcare facilities so that they understand their customer’s challenges. Two free webinars that are relevant are “Ventilation, Surface Disinfection and PPE Considerations for the IP and IH” and “Healthcare preparedness for SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19”
National Environmental Health Association (NEHA)
In response to the pandemic, NEHA has made all its online learning available to everyone through June 30th. Instructions are provided for how to use the promotional code ELEARNING20NEHA in the NEHA Bookstore to get courses. Topics include Infectious & Vectorborne Diseases Training from CDC and many trainings related to food safety.
American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP)
ASSP does not have any disinfection-specific courses yet, but some content that may be of interest to NPMA members includes:
If you have found an online training resource you found helpful, please send the information to email@example.com