Effective September 15, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be terminating a COVID-19 pandemic-related policy that granted antimicrobial disinfectant product manufacturers short-term flexibilities for sourcing active ingredients from the global supply chain. EPA regulates these antimicrobial disinfectant products, and the process of substituting active ingredients, under the federal pesticide law, known as the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
EPA introduced the policy in March 2020 as a “Temporary Amendment” to EPA’s Pesticide Registration Notice 98-10 (“Notifications, Non-Notifications and Minor Formulation Amendments”). The March 2020 announcement specifically allowed “registrants of currently registered pesticide disinfectant products on EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 that contain [specific active ingredients] to use any similar source of the specified active ingredients without having to first apply for and receive EPA approval of an amendment to their pesticide registration identifying the new source of ingredient.” EPA initiated this policy in response to supply-chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. EPA followed policy revisions in April 2020 (further extending the policy given the status of ongoing supply-chain disruptions) and in May 2020 (extending the policy to products used in the food manufacture and preparation industries).
EPA’s decision to terminate this temporary policy is in line with other recent decisions from the Agency to wind down COVID-19 pandemic-related prioritization initiatives. For example, EPA announced in April 2021 that it will no longer prioritizing Public Health Emergency requests for new products that address surface transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. EPA has also announced recently that it will no longer be expediting “new product registrations, emerging viral pathogen claims, SARS-CoV-2 claims, and electrostatic spraying directions for products intended to kill SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces.”