The Environmental Protection Agency has produced a list of cleaning products deemed acceptable for warding off the coronavirus-borne disease COVID-19, but there’s a significant caveat: Most products haven’t had their claims to effectiveness against the new coronavirus tested.
Companies are legally allowed to make such effectiveness claims under the EPA’s Viral Emerging Pathogen Policy guidelines. COVID-19 falls in this category, according to the EPA, because it is “less common and predictable than established pathogens.” Additionally, “the pathogens are often unavailable commercially and standard methods for laboratory testing may not exist.”
The list of over six pages of cleaning products was complied by the American Chemistry Council’s Center for Biocide Chemistries. It is broken down into three product categories: ready to use, dilutable and wipes. It was updated on March 6.
Included in the ready-to-use list are five Purell products, which are distributed by its parent company, GOJO; 21 Clorox CLX, -1.47% products; and nine Lysol-brand products from Reckitt Benckiser RB, -2.19%. Also in that category is Procter & Gamble Co.’s PG, +0.02% new line of antibacterial home products, Microban 24, which is marketed as protecting against bacteria for 24 hours. In total there are two and half pages of EPA-approved ready-to-use products
In the dilutable category are over 100 products. Many of these products are made using bleach.
The wipe category contains the fewest approved COVID-19 products, with 37 listed as of Sunday.
The EPA’s guidelines do not apply to hand-sanitizer products, which are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Hand-sanitizer sales were 313% higher in the last week of February than in the same week last year, according to Nielsen NLSN, -1.74% NLSN, -1.74%.
NLSN, -1.74% Sales of aerosol disinfectant products were nearly 100% higher than last year, Nielsen found. Sales of bath and shower wipes had increased nearly 60%.
Many of the EPA approved COVID-19 products are unavailable at Amazon AMZN, -1.19% and other e-commerce sites as well as in drugstore chains including Walgreens WBA, +3.54% and CVS CVS, -0.32% CVS, -0.32% and such big-box stores as Target TGT, -0.01%.
CVS, -0.32% Sen. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, recently penned a letter to Amazon, saying the company needs to cleanse its third-party sales platform of price gouging. “Although Amazon and the other sellers on Amazon.com have a right to expect a reasonable return on the products they sell, they do not have a right to impose unjustifiably high prices on consumers who are seeking to protect themselves against the coronavirus,” Markey wrote. “But according to press reports, that is precisely what is happening.”