The federal agency released a five-page list of chemicals and products Thursday that it says are strong enough to ward off "harder-to-kill" viruses than SARS-CoV-2, the virus that's responsible for the disease.
"Using the correct disinfectant is an important part of preventing and reducing the spread of illnesses along with other critical aspects such as hand washing," EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.
"There is no higher priority for the Trump Administration than protecting the health and safety of Americans. EPA is providing this important information in a public and transparent manner on disinfectant products to help reduce the spread of COVID-19," he said.
The EPA says it's best to follow the instructions on the disinfectant's label and pay attention to the how long the product should be on the surface you're cleaning.
In a statement to CNN, the EPA said companies can apply for an "emerging pathogens claim" based on previously approved claims for harder-to-kill viruses. The agency reviews them and determines whether the company can safely make that claim.
One important fact to note, however is that handwashing with soap and water is still the best way to prevent transmission of the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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That's because from what we know so far, the novel coronavirus is thought to spread primarily by people and their respiratory droplets -- think coughs, sneezes, spit.
In other words, person-to-person transmission is most common.
While it's possible that people who touch surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus and then touch their mouths or eyes can also become infected, this may not be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said. So disinfectant wipes can only go so far.
Here are some of the registered disinfectants on the EPA's list:
- Clorox Multi Surface Cleaner + Bleach
- Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
- Clorox Commercial Solutions® Clorox® Disinfecting Spray
- Lysol brand Heavy-Duty Cleaner Disinfectant Concentrate
- Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist
- Lysol brand Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner
- Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Wipes
- Sani-Prime Germicidal Spray
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