Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. serves small, medium, and large pesticide product registrants and other stakeholders in the agricultural and biocidal sectors, in virtually every aspect of pesticide law, policy, science, and regulation.

By Lisa M. Campbell, Lisa R. Burchi, and Heather F. Collins, M.S.

On July 8, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it issued a Stop Sale, Use or Removal Order (SSURO) to Allied BioScience for its product SurfaceWise2. SurfaceWise2, a residual antimicrobial surface coating, was previously authorized for emergency use in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas to help address the COVID-19 pandemic. Specific use sites included American Airlines aircraft and airport facilities and two orthopedic facilities in Texas. A discussion of these emergency authorizations can be found here.

EPA asserts that the company was marketing, selling, and distributing SurfaceWise2 in ways that were inconsistent with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the terms and conditions of the emergency exemption authorizations, and issued an SSURO that requires Allied BioScience to stop selling and distributing SurfaceWise2 immediately. The SSURO will remain in effect unless revoked, terminated, suspended, or modified in writing by EPA.

Additionally, EPA states that it is revoking SurfaceWise2 emergency exemptions for Arkansas and Texas based on the FIFRA violations that EPA is alleging and scientific concerns regarding product performance. According to EPA, since January, new data became available that led EPA to review comprehensively new and existing information regarding product efficacy. EPA states that its laboratory testing indicates the product’s performance is less reliable under real-world conditions than, presumably, data that EPA previously reviewed may have indicated to EPA, particularly when it is exposed to moisture or abrasion.

In May 2021, EPA received a revocation request from Oklahoma indicating the emergency situation was no longer applicable in the state. EPA stated that it is accepting Oklahoma’s rationale and revoking the state’s emergency exemption on those grounds. This action is in addition to revoking the emergency exemptions for Arkansas and Texas.

Commentary

EPA initially approved in August 2020 the emergency exemptions for SurfaceWise2 for specific locations under Section 18 of FIFRA for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, on surfaces for up to seven days. In January 2021, EPA announced approval of extensions for the first-ever long-lasting antiviral product for use against SARS-CoV-2, with claims providing residual surface control of coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, for up to 30 days on undisturbed (e.g., not routinely disinfected with List N products) non-porous treated surfaces. These approvals were novel and touted by EPA in its effort to combat the coronavirus. It is not unusual for EPA to issue an SSURO to stop sales for a product that is being marketed, sold, and distributed in a manner inconsistent with its label, but the issuance of an SSURO in this instance is noteworthy given EPA’s prior support of the product. Likewise, the fact that EPA conducted its own efficacy testing on this product is atypical. The implications of EPA’s conducting its own testing of the product could potentially have broader implications for novel antimicrobial products claiming long-term efficacy. Additionally noteworthy is the fact that this case emphasizes again EPA’s view that products intended to combat COVID-19 on surfaces are not in need of emergency or expedited approvals.


 

By Lisa M. Campbell and Lisa R. Burchi

On June 7, 2021, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) announced the issuance of its Interim Order Respecting Ultraviolet Radiation-emitting Devices and Ozone-generating Devices under the Pest Control Products Act (Interim Order), setting forth new requirements for certain devices claiming to control, destroy, make inactive, or reduce the level of bacteria, viruses, and other micro-organisms that are human pathogens. PMRA also issued an “Explanatory Note” and a Questions and Answers document regarding the Interim Order.

PMRA states that it issued the Interim Order following the increased sale of ultraviolet (UV) radiation-emitting and ozone-generating devices such as lights and wands in Canada since the COVID-19 pandemic. These devices are marketed to kill bacteria and viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. According to PMRA, it has not received enough evidence to confirm that UV radiation-emitting and ozone-generating devices are safe for users and the public, or that they are effective.

Thus, PMRA is now requiring that companies register certain UV radiation-emitting devices and ozone-generating devices before they may be sold or used in Canada. In its Explanatory Note, PMRA states:

By bringing certain UV and ozone-generating devices under the [Pest Control Products Act (PCPA)], they need to be registered or otherwise authorized in order to be on the Canadian market. An application to register a pest control product must be submitted to Health Canada in the form and manner directed by the Minister and must include any information and other material that is required by the Pest Control Products Regulations to accompany the application. Applications to register devices consist of a number of information and data requirements, including a cover letter stating the purpose of the application, an application and fee estimate forms, the proposed English and French product labels, as well as data to support the safety and efficacy of the device. A registration will be granted under the PCPA if the Minister considers that the health and environmental risks and the value of the device are acceptable after any required assessments.

The Interim Order clarifies that certain UV radiation-emitting devices and ozone-generating devices claiming to kill bacteria and viruses are not subject to the regulatory requirements of the PCPA and its Regulations. These include:

  • Devices that are manufactured, represented, distributed, or used to control, destroy, or inactivate viruses, bacteria, or other micro-organisms that are human pathogens for use in swimming pools, spas, or wastewater treatment systems;
  • Devices that meet the definition of “device” in Section 2 of the Food and Drugs Act and are classified as a Class II, III, or IV medical device under the Medical Devices Regulations; and
  • UV radiation-emitting devices that satisfy the following conditions:
    • The device is certified by a standards development organization accredited by the Standards Council of Canada as meeting the applicable Canadian electrical safety requirements;
    • The certification mark of the standards development organization appears on the label of the device;
    • Any efficacy claim that is made in respect of the device is only a claim of supplemental sanitization;
    • No express or implied reference to prevention, treatment, or mitigation of disease is made in respect of the device;
    • The device has at least one of the following mechanisms:
      • A mechanism that locks the device during operation, or
      • A mechanism that automatically shuts off the device if it is opened during operation; and
    • The UV lamp is fully shielded or enclosed in the device in a manner that prevents access to it by users of the device and prevents exposure to UV radiation.

For UV radiation-emitting devices that satisfy these conditions, there are additional labeling requirements for the display panels and operating manual.

Discussion

This Interim Order changes significantly the requirements applicable to these types of devices that did not previously require registration. PMRA is providing a 30-day transition period after the Interim Order is issued before companies must comply with these requirements. PMRA also is advising Canadians to “stop using UV lights and wands that claim to disinfect against the virus that causes COVID-19 especially if the product is for use on the skin.”

Companies that produce devices that may be subject to this Interim Order should review the new requirements and exemptions carefully. PMRA states that unregistered or unauthorized devices are prohibited and may be subject to compliance and enforcement action.


 

By Heather F. Collins, M.S.

On April 21, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the issuance of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 18 emergency exemptions to the states of Georgia, Minnesota, and Utah permitting the use of BiaXamTM B110-V and BiaXamTM B110-P (BiaXam), adhesive film used as supplemental residual surface coating, in Delta Air Lines planes and facilities in those three states.

According to the EPA Authorizations for Georgia, Minnesota, and Utah (EPA Authorizations), the unregistered product is a transparent adhesive film that contains the unregistered active ingredient, Benzene, 1-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-4-ethenyl-, polymer with ethenylbenzene and 2-methyl-1,3-butadiene, sulfonated (CAS RN 1637665-77-0).  BiaXam is approved for use on indoor hard, nonpliable, nonporous, nonfood-contact surfaces of aircraft, airports, and associated facilities owned or operated by Delta Air Lines, to provide residual control of the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.  The adhesive film must be applied by trained applicators to indoor surfaces in airplanes, airports, and related facilities at the Delta Air Lines sites listed on the label.  Prior to application of the BiaXam product, the surface initially must be disinfected using a disinfectant from EPA’s List N – Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV.

The BiaXam film is to be replaced in airplanes at least every 200 days, and in airports and related facilities at least every 100 days. If the film detaches from the surface, degrades, is damaged, becomes irreparably soiled, or its edges or corners begin to peel, the film is to be removed, the surface cleaned and dried using a List N disinfectant, and a new layer of film applied to the surface according to the application instructions on the label.  To maintain protective effect on surfaces that have been treated with BiaXam, only alcohol-based Purell wipes, Matrix Disinfectant/Cleaner #3 (quaternary ammonium based, EPA Reg. No. 1839-168-67026), and Lysol wipes (quaternary ammonium based, EPA Reg. No. 777-114) may be used on film-covered surfaces for routine cleaning and disinfection. The film surface is to be cleaned directly in place and not removed unless replacing. If cleaning products are provided to the public (e.g., airline passengers), only products compatible with BiaXamTM B110-V and BiaXamTM B110-P should be provided.

FIFRA Section 18 authorizes EPA to exempt federal or state agencies from any provision of FIFRA in the event that emergency conditions require such an exemption.  EPA regulations (40 C.F.R. Part 166) specify when state or federal government agencies will be permitted to use unregistered pesticides in response to an emergency.  EPA’s regulations provide that an emergency exists when:

  • There is an “urgent, non-routine” situation requiring the use of a pesticide to control a new pest not previously prevalent in the United States, to control significant risks to health, the environment, beneficial organisms, or endangered species, or to prevent specified types of economic loss; and
  • There is no registered pesticide or economically or environmentally feasible alternate method of control available.

40 C.F.R. § 166.3.

The exemptions granted can be very specific and time-limited; EPA has developed a database so companies can search (by chemical, site, pest, applicant, or date range) to determine if an emergency exemption has been issued and its expiration date.

EPA’s approval will allow the BiaXam product to be used at facilities owned or controlled by Delta Air Lines, Inc., at specific sites in Georgia, Minnesota, and Utah, on indoor hard, nonpliable, nonporous, and nonfood-contact surfaces in airplanes, airports, and other air-travel related facilities owned or controlled by Delta Air Lines, Inc. including, but not limited to:

  • Airplanes: railings, doorknobs/handles, armrests, seatback touch screens, seatbelt buckles, window shades, overhead bins, and overhead control buttons.
  • Airports and other air-travel related facilities: check-in kiosks and counters, gate counters, railings, doorknobs/handles, luggage bins, desks, keyboards, computer mice, touchscreens, printers, badge readers, plastic divider walls, hard nonporous seating, armrests, and elevator buttons.

The approved Section 18 emergency requests are effective for one year.  Any unexpected adverse effects related to the use of this product must be reported immediately to EPA as required under the terms of the FIFRA Section 18 emergency exemption approval.


 

By Lisa M. Campbell and Heather F. Collins, M.S.

On January 19, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the issuance of a Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 18 emergency exemption to the states of Oklahoma and Arkansas, permitting American Airlines to use SurfaceWise2, believed to inactivate coronaviruses like the SARS-CoV-2 virus on surfaces, in specific airport facilities and planes.  EPA also has revised the terms of use for SurfaceWise2 for all current emergency exemptions. 

EPA’s initial emergency exemption for the state of Texas issued on August 24, 2020, specified that the product remained effective for seven days.  According to its updated labels for all three states, EPA has now approved claims that SurfaceWise2 provides residual surface control of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces that are undisturbed for up to 30 days.  The updated labels state “When used in accordance with the directions for use, SurfaceWise®2 provides residual surface control of coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, for up to 30-days on undisturbed (e.g., are not routinely disinfected with List N products) non-porous treated surfaces.” 

Of note, EPA also states in its announcement that SurfaceWise2 should be reapplied every time surfaces are disinfected to ensure continuous product performance as exposure to prolonged wetness may adversely impact the efficacy of the product.  The updated labels state in the Directions for Use that the user must “Reapply SurfaceWise®2 after surfaces are disinfected to ensure continuous product performance” and “Do not expose SurfaceWise®2 to prolonged wetness as this may adversely impact the efficacy of the product.”

FIFRA Section 18 authorizes EPA to exempt federal or state agencies from any provision of FIFRA in the event that emergency conditions require such an exemption.  EPA regulations (40 C.F.R. Part 166) specify when state or federal government agencies will be permitted to use unregistered pesticides in response to an emergency.  EPA’s regulations provide that an emergency exists when:

  • There is an “urgent, non-routine” situation requiring the use of a pesticide to control a new pest not previously prevalent in the United States, to control significant risks to health, the environment, beneficial organisms, or endangered species, or to prevent specified types of economic loss; and
  • There is no registered pesticide or economically or environmentally feasible alternate method of control available.

40 C.F.R. § 166.3.

The exemptions granted can be very specific and time-limited; EPA has developed a database so companies can search (by chemical, site, pest, applicant, or date range) to determine if an emergency exemption has been issued and its expiration date.

In this case, EPA approved the Section 18 emergency exemption request for SurfaceWise2 -- a product manufactured by Allied BioScience.  SurfaceWise2 is a surface coating that Allied BioScience states inactivates viruses and bacteria within two hours of application and continues to work against them for up to 30 days, on undisturbed non-porous treated surfaces.  EPA’s approvals will allow Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas to permit American Airlines airport facilities and planes at specific locations identified on the label and two Total Orthopedics Sports & Spine Clinics in Texas to use SurfaceWise2 under certain conditions.  The approved Section 18 emergency requests are effective for one year. This public health exemption will expire August 24, 2021.  As new data emerge, EPA may alter the terms of the product’s emergency uses, as it did with the modifications discussed here. 

Additional information on Section 18 emergency exemption requests and SARS-CoV-2 is available here.


 

By Lisa M. Campbell and Lisa R. Burchi

In January 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) announced that it issued a revised compliance advisory (Advisory) on products claiming to kill SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.  EPA first issued this guidance on June 1, 2020, and it is discussed in our blog here.

The Advisory has been revised significantly, reflecting new developments and experience since the Advisory was first issued.  

The first section of the Advisory addresses “Products claiming to be effective against the coronavirus causing COVID-19.”  That title has changed, as well as the language throughout the Advisory, to refer now to products that are “effective against” the coronavirus, instead of products that “kill” the coronavirus.

EPA has added a new section entitled “What is the difference between an EPA registration number and an EPA establishment number?”  Presumably, this is intended to address confusion among some with regard to this important difference.  The Advisory now states: 

An EPA establishment number is not the same as an EPA registration number. An EPA registration number signifies that the pesticide and its claims have been reviewed and approved by EPA. An establishment number identifies the EPA-registered location where the product was produced.  EPA provides a National List of Active EPA-Registered Foreign and Domestic Pesticide and/or Device-Producing Establishments at: https://www.epa.gov/compliance/national-list-active-epa-registered-foreign-and-domestic-pesticide-andor-device-producing.

The section entitled “Devices that claim to kill the coronavirus” has been significantly modified.  In particular, EPA has now deleted from the Advisory language that “ozone generators, UV lights and other pesticide devices may not be able to make claims against coronavirus where devices have not been tested for efficacy or safety for use against the virus causing COVID-19 or harder-to-kill viruses.”  Instead, the Advisory states legal requirements applicable to devices, namely that the labels “include adequate warning and caution statements and directions for use” and have an EPA establishment number.  EPA further adds the following: “Additionally, making false or misleading labeling claims about the safety or efficacy of a pesticidal device is prohibited and could result in the issuance of a Stop Sale, Use, or Removal Order and penalties under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).”

In its “Compliance Concerns” section, EPA states it continues to pursue enforcement against products making false and misleading claims regarding their efficacy against the coronavirus, adding that it is “particularly concerned with pesticide and pesticide device products sold online on e-commerce platforms that are fraudulent, counterfeit, and/or otherwise ineffective.” 

EPA has added new language to address a particular issue with regard to “residual” claims:

In the United States, it is unlawful to distribute or sell a pesticide which includes claims that it will kill a particular pathogen, unless that pesticide is registered by EPA and that particular claim has been deemed acceptable by the agency. In some instances, companies have unlawfully added additional claims to the labels of their registered pesticide products that have not been approved by EPA. For example, a claim for persisting or long-lasting effect against viruses, referred to as “residual claims” (i.e., claims that a product provides an ongoing antimicrobial effect beyond the initial time of application, ranging from days to weeks to months), may be accepted by EPA only when supported by acceptable studies demonstrating satisfactory residual efficacy. Until EPA approves a residual claim, it cannot lawfully be included on a registered product as part of distribution or sale. For more information on residual claims, see: https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/there-anything-i-can-do-make-surfaces-resistant-sars-cov-2.  For more information on registering products with residual claims, see EPA’s Interim Guidance: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/interim-guidance-expedited-review-products-adding-residual-efficacy-claims.

Commentary

Of interest among the changes to the Advisory is the removal of the language stating that pesticide devices could not make claims against the coronavirus unless they had been specifically “tested for efficacy or safety for use against the virus causing COVID-19 or harder-to-kill viruses.”  While any such testing may be necessary to demonstrate efficacy or appropriate directions for use, EPA had not previously stated what particular testing was required for devices or against what testing standard it would determine whether a device claim is “false or misleading.”  It remains important for pesticide device producers to review carefully the data supporting the claims made for their devices to ensure that they comply with the regulatory requirements under FIFRA.


 

By Lisa M. Campbell and Heather F. Collins, M.S.

On January 15, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the issuance of a Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Section 18 emergency exemption to the states of Georgia and Tennessee permitting the use of an air treatment product, Grignard Pure, in health care facilities, intrastate transportation, food processing facilities, and indoor spaces within buildings -- including government facilities -- where people are conducting activity deemed essential by the state.  According to the EPA Authorizations for Georgia and Tennessee (EPA Authorizations), Grignard Pure forms a mist with activity against airborne SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.  It contains the active ingredient triethylene glycol (TEG), an ingredient commonly used in fog machines for concerts and theater productions. 

FIFRA Section 18 authorizes EPA to exempt federal or state agencies from any provision of FIFRA in the event that emergency conditions require such an exemption.  EPA regulations (40 C.F.R. Part 166) specify when state or federal government agencies will be permitted to use unregistered pesticides in response to an emergency.  EPA’s regulations provide that an emergency exists when:

  • There is an “urgent, non-routine” situation requiring the use of a pesticide to control a new pest not previously prevalent in the United States, to control significant risks to health, the environment, beneficial organisms, or endangered species, or to prevent specified types of economic loss; and
  • There is no registered pesticide or economically or environmentally feasible alternate method of control available.

40 C.F.R. § 166.3.

The exemptions granted can be very specific and time-limited; EPA has developed a database so companies can search (by chemical, site, pest, applicant, or date range) to determine if an emergency exemption has been issued and its expiration date.

EPA’s approval will allow the Grignard Pure product to be applied in Georgia and Tennessee in certain indoor spaces where adherence to current public health guidelines is impractical or difficult to maintain.  The areas where it can be used under the exemption include breakrooms, locker rooms, bathrooms, lobbies, elevators, eating areas, and food preparation areas within health care facilities, intrastate transportation, food processing facilities, and indoor spaces within buildings.  According to the EPA Authorizations, Grignard Pure may only be applied by trained professionals through a building’s HVAC system or using portable devices positioned strategically in an indoor space.  Additionally, the label states that use of Grignard Pure does not eliminate the need for critical precautions like mask wearing and social distancing.  Signs must be posted to indicate that a space is being treated and to advise that the product may cause temporary irritation to sensitive individuals.

Based on a review of laboratory testing data, EPA states that it expects that when used as directed, Grignard Pure will inactivate continuously 98 percent of airborne SARS-CoV-2 particles. Grignard Pure was tested against a surrogate virus that is harder to kill than SARS-CoV-2.

The approved Section 18 emergency requests are effective for one year.  Any unexpected adverse effects related to the use of this product must be reported immediately to EPA as required under the terms of the FIFRA Section 18 emergency exemption approval.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton

Last week, press reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would assess distilleries making hand sanitizer $14,060 in fees as Monograph Drug Facilities (MDF) under the Over-the-Counter (OTC) Monograph Drug user fee program for fiscal year (FY) 2021.  Several days later, on December 31, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Public Affairs tweeted a statement from Brian Harrison, HHS Chief of Staff.  According to the statement, HHS has “directed FDA to cease enforcement of these arbitrary, surprise user fees.”  FDA announced the fee rates on December 29, 2020.  85 Fed. Reg. 85646.  According to the notice, MDFs are exempt from FY 2021 facility fees if they had ceased OTC monograph drug activities and updated their registration with FDA to that effect, prior to December 31, 2019 -- an impossibility for distilleries that began making hand sanitizer in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the complete HHS statement, posted by the Distilled Spirits Council, FDA’s March 2020 guidance document, Temporary Policy for Preparation of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency (COVID-19), “contains no discussion regarding user fees or any indication such fees would be due by these entities, many of which would be entering the drug manufacturing business for the first time.”  HHS states that FDA’s action “was not cleared by HHS leadership, who only learned of it through media reports.”  The HHS Office of the General Counsel (OGC) reviewed the matter and “determined that the manner in which the fees were announced and issued has the force and effect of a legislative rule.  Only the HHS Secretary has the authority to issue legislative rules, and he would never have authorized such an action during a time in which the Department is maximizing its regulatory flexibility to empower Americans to confront and defeat COVID-19.”  Because HHS OGC has determined the FDA’s notice is a legislative rule and that no one at FDA has been delegated authority to issue such a rule, HHS states that the notice is void.  HHS leadership, based on the legal opinion, has ordered FDA’s Federal Register notice to be withdrawn, “meaning these surprise user fees will not need to be paid.”

Commentary

The decision comes as a huge relief to businesses far beyond the distillery industry.  FDA is to be commended for ensuring well-intended businesses that redeployed their infrastructure for all the right reasons were not inadvertently penalized for stepping up.


 

By Lisa M. Campbell, Lisa R. Burchi, and Barbara A. Christianson

On October 30, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) announced that it issued a Compliance Advisory on ultraviolet (UV) lights claiming to kill or be effective against viruses and bacteria. 

EPA states that the Advisory was issued to provide an explanation to the UV light industry that UV lights are regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) as pesticide devices when sold or distributed with claims to kill or be otherwise effective against viruses and/or bacteria, unless an exception applies, and must comply with certain statutory and regulatory requirements.  This is the second Compliance Advisory issued by EPA relating to UV light devices, as an Advisory issued in May 2020 entitled “What You Need to Know Regarding Products Making Claims to Kill the Coronavirus Causing COVID-19” also addressed in part whether UV light devices could make claims against the coronavirus.

The Advisory reiterates that UV lights sold or distributed with claims that the lights can be used for preventing, destroying, repelling, trapping, or mitigating any pests, which include plants, animals, viruses, bacteria, or other micro-organisms, are regulated by EPA under FIFRA as a device.  UV lights without such claims would not be subject to FIFRA.  According to the Advisory, pesticidal devices are subject to certain regulatory requirements under FIFRA, one of which is a prohibition of false or misleading labeling claims. 

The Advisory answers the following questions:

How do I comply with FIFRA if I am selling or distributing a UV light with pesticidal claims?

  • Devices do not need to be registered by EPA and, therefore, are not subject to a pre-market review by EPA (although some states require devices to be registered). However, federal regulations require devices to be produced in an EPA-registered pesticide producing establishment and there are production reporting requirements; see 40 C.F.R Part 167.
  • Devices must be labeled per federal regulations at 40 C.F.R Part 156. Generally, device labels must include warning and caution statements, directions for use and the EPA establishment number, amongst other label requirements. A description of device label requirements can be found at https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/pesticide-registration-manual-chapter-13-devices#labeling.  
  • All claims in connection with the sale or distribution of a device must be true and not misleading. FIFRA Section 12(a)(1)(F) specifically prohibits false or misleading labeling (known as misbranding); this includes claims made in marketing materials and on websites. Examples of misbranding are provided at 40 C.F.R 156.10(a)(5) and include, but are not limited to, false or misleading statements concerning product effectiveness (known as efficacy), claims about product safety, false or misleading comparisons with other pesticides or devices, or any statement directly or indirectly implying that the device is recommended or endorsed by any agency of the Federal Government.  Companies are advised to maintain records, with information and data, to substantiate that claims made in regard to devices are not false or misleading.

In addition to FIFRA requirements, importers of all FIFRA-regulated devices must comply with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations set forth at 19 C.F.R. §§ 12.110 -12.117. Regulated entities that are importing UV pesticide devices are advised that the products being imported must be in compliance with FIFRA prior to entry into the United States. The EPA regularly coordinates with CBP to identify and reject violative UV pesticide devices at the port of entry.

Can a UV light be a pesticide requiring EPA registration?

Yes. If the UV light product incorporates a substance or mixture of substances to perform its intended pesticidal purpose, then it is considered a pesticide product, not a device, and must be registered with EPA in accordance with FIFRA Section 3 before it can be lawfully sold or distributed in the United States. 

Are UV lights safe and effective?

Unlike chemical pesticides, EPA does not routinely review the safety or efficacy of UV light devices and, therefore, EPA has not conducted a human health risk assessment to determine the safety of these products. For the same reason, EPA cannot confirm whether, or under what circumstances, UV light devices might be effective against any pest, including viruses and bacteria. The effectiveness of any UV light device will depend on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, the device’s duration of use, distance of the light from the surface intended to be treated, the UV wavelength, the specific pest being targeted, the strength or wattage of the UV light bulb, the age of the UV light bulb, shadow areas or other factors. 

Consumers are advised to use all pesticidal devices ONLY in accordance with the Directions for Use, which are required to appear on the product label. EPA recommends that consumers contact the manufacturer or seller of the pesticidal device directly if they have any questions about how to use the product, the product’s safety, or the product’s efficacy.

What are the compliance concerns related to UV lights?

There may be members of the UV light industry who are unfamiliar with FIFRA and may not be aware of statutory and regulatory requirements. For example, they may be unaware that it is a violation of FIFRA to sell or distribute pesticidal UV light devices that are misbranded or that have not been produced in an EPA-registered establishment. EPA has been receiving complaints that UV light devices may be in violation of FIFRA. These complaints are being reviewed and EPA intends to pursue enforcement, as appropriate. See EPA’s May 2020 compliance advisory on products making claims to kill the coronavirus that causes COVID 19 at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-05/documents/cornavirus-compliance-advisory.pdf and any subsequent updates.

Regulated entities of any size who voluntarily discover, promptly disclose, expeditiously correct, and take steps to prevent recurrence of potential violations may be eligible for a reduction or elimination of any civil penalties that otherwise might apply. To learn more about the EPA’s violation disclosure policies, including conditions for eligibility, please review EPA’s Audit Policy website at https://www.epa.gov/compliance/epas-audit-policy. Most violations can be disclosed and processed via EPA’s automated online “eDisclosure” system - https://www.epa.gov/compliance/epas-edisclosure. Many states also offer incentives for self-policing; please check with the appropriate state agency for more information.

Are you unsure if your product is a device under FIFRA?

EPA has developed a guide concerning pesticide devices that explains what a pesticide device is and how it differs from a pesticide product which requires registration. This guide may be helpful to UV light manufacturers who need to determine if their product is regulated by FIFRA.See https://www.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/pesticide-devices-guide-consumers. If you are still uncertain about whether your UV light product is a device, you may submit a request for a Device Determination from EPA. Instructions for submitting a request can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/pesticide-registration-manual-chapter-13-devices#obtain.

Discussion

UV light devices are a heightened focus of EPA, whose import and enforcement officials have been reviewing materials (e.g., import documents, websites) related to devices and increasingly bringing enforcement actions against companies for FIFRA violations.  These actions can address circumstances when a pesticide device is not produced in a registered establishment or when the label does not include certain requirement elements, but more recently EPA seems particularly interested in the claims that are being made with regard to these devices and whether those claims are “false and misleading” under EPA’s regulations. 

Ensuring that claims related to the efficacy of the device are not considered by EPA to be “false and misleading” can be especially difficult based on the facts that EPA does not review and approve data that support the claims being made, and also that EPA has not historically provided guidance as to the type of data that it would require to support an efficacy claim for a pesticide device.  This Advisory is interesting to the extent that EPA sets forth various factors to be considered when determining the effectiveness of a UV light device.  These factors include, but are not limited to “the device’s duration of use, distance of the light from the surface intended to be treated, the UV wavelength, the specific pest being targeted, the strength or wattage of the UV light bulb, the age of the UV light bulb, shadow areas or other factors.”  The May 2020 Advisory further states that “UV lights and other pesticide devices may not be able to make claims against coronavirus where devices have not been tested for efficacy or safety for use against the virus causing COVID-19 or harder-to-kill viruses.”  (Emphasis in original.)  In light of the two advisories, it is critical for pesticide device producers to review carefully the data supporting the claims made for their devices to ensure that they comply with the regulatory requirements under FIFRA.


 

By Barbara A. Christianson

On October 26, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is soliciting public comment on the interim guidance on registering products that claim to have “residual” or “long-lasting” effectiveness against viruses.  This announcement follows up on EPA’s October 14, 2020, announcement that it would begin expediting its review of products with residual efficacy intended for use against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.  While traditional disinfectants only kill viruses and bacteria that are on the surface at the time they are used, surfaces treated with residual antimicrobial products kill pathogens that come into contact with the surface days, weeks, or years after the product is applied.

EPA announced in an October 26, 2020, memorandum that it is seeking feedback from the public on the expedited process, design elements for evaluating residual product claims, and the test methods associated with this initiative. 

All comments on the interim guidance must be submitted to Docket Number EPA-HQ-OPP-2020-0529 on or before January 4, 2021. 

The interim guidance documents -- Interim Method for Evaluating the Efficacy of Antimicrobial Surface Coatings, Interim Guidance - Expedited Review for Products Adding Residual Efficacy Claims, and Interim Method for the Evaluation of Bacterial Activity of Hard, Non-Porous Copper-Containing Surface Products -- are available in Docket Number EPA-HQ-OPP-2020-0529.  More information on the interim guidance is available on our blog.


 

By Lisa M. Campbell, Heather F. Collins, M.S. and Barbara A. Christianson

On October 14, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a much-anticipated draft guidance that will allow companies to demonstrate that their products have “long-lasting” or “residual” effectiveness on surfaces against viruses like SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.  EPA’s guidance specifies scientific testing requirements for two different types of products:  (1) disinfectants that also provide residual efficacy, and (2) supplemental residual antimicrobial products (e.g., coatings, paints, solid surfaces) that do not meet EPA’s standards for disinfectants but are intended to be used as a supplement to standard List N disinfectants.

In addition to releasing the draft residual efficacy protocols, EPA has also released an updated draft testing protocol for evaluating a copper surface’s ability to kill bacteria and a draft protocol for evaluating the efficacy of antimicrobial surface coatings.  These laboratory testing methods act as a foundation for EPA’s interim guidance to registrants regarding residual effectiveness.

While EPA does not have an approved standard method to support virus claims for these types of products, EPA states that the following information is intended to provide interim guidance on the study design elements necessary to support these types of claims.  EPA states that it may consider other methods or studies to support residual efficacy claims, provided they are scientifically sound.  Applicants are highly encouraged to consult with EPA prior to submitting.  Of significant interest, EPA states that products may make both types of residual claims provided that they are supported by the appropriate data.

Due to lab capacity concerns, EPA plans to consider non-GLP (Good Laboratory Practice) data to support residual claims, provided that the study submission accurately represents how the study differs from the GLP standards in the 40 C.F.R. Section 160.12 statement of non-compliance.  Additional details provided in the EPA guidance on how to qualify products for residual disinfectants or supplemental residual antimicrobial products are briefly outlined below.

Residual Disinfectant Claims

Residual disinfectants must clear a higher standard of efficacy than supplemental residual antimicrobial products.  Residual disinfectant products must be effective within 10 minutes of a virus or bacteria contacting a treated surface and must remain effective for up to 24 hours.  Surfaces treated with residual disinfectants must not require additional cleaning or disinfection during this window.  EPA-approved residual disinfectant products are eligible to be added to List N.  In addition, long-lasting coating products must satisfy all requirements for standard disinfectant claims (non-residual) to be eligible for residual disinfectant claims and must have undergone testing to support standard disinfectant claims.

To support a claim as a residual bactericidal disinfectant, applicants should use EPA’s Residual Self-Sanitization Protocol with the following modifications:

  • Base Bacteria -- Consistent with EPA Guideline 810.2200, Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC No. 6538) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC No. 15442) should be used to support the case residual disinfectant claim.
  • Conduct testing on three product lots at the lower certified limit (LCL) for each bacterium.  In accordance with the OCSPP 810.2000 Test Guideline, certificates of analysis should be submitted to substantiate the tested concentration.
  • Residual testing to support additional vegetative bacteria is not needed.  Claims can be bridged from the standard disinfectant (non-residual data) for additional bacteria.  For example, if a product has data to support a base disinfectant claim (Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and data to support disinfectant claims for additional vegetative bacteria (e.g., Escherichia coli or MRSA), residual data are only needed for the base bacteria, and not additional bacteria, to support residual claims for those vegetative bacteria for which base disinfectant claims are supported.
  • According to the Residual Self-Sanitization Method, durability testing should include 12 wear cycles, consisting of abrasions (alternating wet and dry) and re-inoculations to support a 24-hour residual disinfectant claim.  Each wear cycle consists of four passes (two back and forth) of the abrasion material over the surface followed by re-inoculation.  Additional details can be found in the method.
  • Products should achieve a ≥ 5-log reduction in ≤ 10 minutes ± 5 seconds for qualifying bacteria when compared to the parallel abrasion and re-inoculation controls to support residual disinfectant claims.
  • According to the OCSPP 810.2200 Test Guideline, the performance standard and time to meet the performance standard are consistent with the standards for non-residual disinfectants.
  • At this time, expedited review is limited to residual disinfection claims of 24 hours or less based on data generated in accordance with the re-inoculation and abrasion cycles specified in the referenced protocol.
  1. Residual Virucidal Claims

EPA’s Residual Self-Sanitization Protocol with the modifications below should be used to support residual virucidal claims.  Virucidal efficacy should be assessed consistent with the principles of ASTM E1053 (e.g., recovery, cytotoxicity, neutralization, and calculations), the standard virucidal method detailed in OCSPP 810.2200 Product Performance Test Guideline.

  • To support residual virucidal claims, acceptable non-residual virucidal efficacy (3-log reduction) should be demonstrated for the product at ≤ 10-minute contact time consistent with the OCSPP 810.2200 Product Performance Test Guideline.
  • Residual virucidal data should be generated for the most difficult to kill virus that that the product claims to kill.  Claims for residual effect against the other viruses can be bridged from the non-residual virucidal data supporting the product.  For additional information on selecting the most difficult to kill virus, see EPA’s Emerging Viral Pathogens Guidance.
    • To be considered for List N, virus testing should include a non-enveloped virus or a human coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 or human coronavirus 229E).
  • Testing on two product lots should be conducted at the LCL.
  • According to the Residual Self-Sanitization Method, durability testing should include 12 wear cycles consisting of abrasions (alternating wet and dry) and re-inoculations to support a 24-hour residual disinfectant claim.  Each wear cycle consists of four passes of the abrasion material over the surface followed by re-inoculation.  Additional details can be found in the method.
  • Products should achieve ≥ 3-log reduction in ≤ 10 minutes ± 5 seconds for the hardest to kill virus when compared to the parallel abrasion and re-inoculation controls to support residual virucidal claims.
    • The performance standard and contact times are consistent with the standard non-residual disinfectants.
  • At this time, expedited review is limited to residual disinfection claims of 24 hours or less based on data generated in accordance with the re-inoculation and abrasion cycles specified in the referenced protocol.
  1. Labeling and additional information (both bactericidal and virucidal)
  • Products are eligible for inclusion on List N following adherence to the Emerging Viral Pathogens guidance or appropriate testing for a qualifying virus (e.g., SARS-CoV-2 or human coronavirus 229E).
  • These products may be used as stand-alone disinfectants and do not need a label disclaimer that they are a “supplement to standard disinfection” since they meet the general criteria for disinfectants (effective in ≤ 10 minutes with appropriate log reductions for bacteria and virus).

Supplemental Residual Antimicrobial Products

Supplemental residual antimicrobial products work within two hours of a virus or bacteria coming into contact with a surface and can remain effective for weeks to years.  These products can supplement, but not replace, routine cleaning and disinfection using products from EPA’s List N:  Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).  Approved supplemental residual antimicrobial products are not eligible for inclusion on List N, but will be added to a separate List N appendix.

Qualifying antimicrobial surface coatings, films, fixed/solid, and paint products should demonstrate efficacy against vegetative bacteria first before virus claims can be supported.  These products are not required to meet the efficacy standards for disinfectants and can only be approved for use as supplements to standard disinfection. The duration of residual effectiveness claims that EPA will consider for expedited review depends on the type of product, as outlined below.

  1. Antimicrobial Surface Coatings and Films

For these products, EPA states that EPA’s draft Performance of Antimicrobial Surface Coatings on Hard Non-porous Surfaces for qualifying bacteria should be used.  EPA provides the following additional information for products on which virus claims would be added:

  • Test Organisms
    • Bacteria -- Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC No. 6538) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC No. 15442) are the qualifying bacteria required to support supplemental residual antimicrobial surface claims for the proposed claim duration (e.g., one week, two weeks).
      • Testing should be conducted on three product lots per bacterium at the LCL.
    • To support claims for additional bacteria, testing should be conducted according to the method but with a reduced number of product lots.
      • Two lots of product for each bacterium at the nominal concentration.
    • Viruses -- All viruses for which claims are desired should be tested.  The most difficult to kill virus should be subjected to the durability assessment using coating carriers followed by the efficacy assessment to support the proposed duration (e.g., one week, two weeks).  All other viruses should be tested using coated carriers that were not subjected to the durability procedure.
      • Assessment of virucidal efficacy on the coated carriers should be conducted consistent with ASTM E1053, the standard method specified in EPA’s 810.2200 Efficacy Test Guideline.
      • Two lots of product at the LCL should be tested for the most difficult to kill virus.  Two lots of product at the nominal concentration should be tested for additional viruses.
        • To be considered as a supplement to List N, virus testing should include a non-enveloped virus or a human coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 or human coronavirus 229E).
  • Stainless steel carriers will be used to support claims for coatings on hard, nonporous surfaces.  Use sites should be limited to hard, non-porous surfaces.  Additional material types (e.g., porous materials or textiles) may be proposed by the registrant upon consultation with EPA prior to submission.
  • The recommended number of abrasions (touches) and cycles of exposure to cleaning or disinfecting chemicals are provided in the method to substantiate durability claims.  The method also specifies the chemical disinfecting solutions to simulate cycles of in-service disinfection and cleaning.  Additional details can be found in the method.
    • Ten cycles of abrasion and/or chemical exposure is equivalent to one week of durability.  The number of cycles can be increased in one-week increments to support claims up to four weeks.
    • If a product is incompatible with one or more of the test chemistries, this should be discussed with EPA in advance and may limit use sites and surfaces depending on the nature of the incompatibility.  EPA does not have a standard method for determining incompatibility.  This may be based on research and development data or known incompatibilities with the coating material, for example.
  • This protocol may be modified for films upon consultation with EPA in advance of submission.
  • If an applicant intends to claim supplemental residual effects longer than four weeks, it should consult with EPA in advance of submission.  EPA states that because the ongoing antimicrobial integrity of coatings and films will not be readily visible, it is important that end users have a reasonable expectation of durability.
  • Products should achieve a 99.9% reduction (3-log) for both bacteria and viruses in comparison to untreated controls within a maximum of two hours but not less than one hour, as EPA is concerned that observations taken before the inoculum has dried (e.g., less than one hour) on the surface may not provide an accurate assessment of the product.
    • The time to achieve performance begins at the time of inoculation.
  1. Antimicrobial Surface Coatings and Films -- Labeling and Additional Information

EPA states that this new category of antimicrobial products should be labeled as supplemental residual antimicrobial surfaces.  EPA provides the following additional information:

  • As these products do not meet the criteria for a disinfectant due to the longer contact time and lower performance standard, claims for residual disinfectant are not acceptable.  As above, contact times for disinfectants are ≤ 10 minutes and with a higher performance standard for bacteria.
  • Products should carry the following prominent label qualifier that they are a supplement to standard disinfection and cleaning:
    • “Although this product DOES NOT meet EPA’s standards for disinfectants, EPA has determined that, when used with an EPA-registered disinfectant, this product can provide some additional protection against [microorganism(s)] for up to X days. This product DOES NOT achieve the same level of efficacy as an EPA-registered disinfectant; it is only intended to provide supplemental protection between routine applications of EPA-registered disinfectants.”
  • For products eligible only for supplemental residual antimicrobial claims, EPA intends to require as a term of registration that the label and labeling state, “This product does not meet EPA’s efficacy standards to qualify as a stand-alone disinfectant.”
  • Although these products will not be eligible for List N, they will be eligible as a supplement to List N (N.1) to reflect that they are supplemental treatments (i.e., not stand-alone disinfectants) and intended for use in combination with List N disinfectants.
  • The following are example acceptable product label claims:
    • “Kills 99.9% of [insert microorganism/s] within two hours of exposure when used as part of a comprehensive infection control program/protocol for up to X days.”
    • “Continuously reduces [insert microorganism/s] within two hours of exposure when used as part of a comprehensive infection control program for up to X days.”
  1. Fixed/Solid Surfaces Including Solid Copper and Other Metals and Solid Impregnated Materials and Paints -- Method Recommendation

EPA states that these products should use EPA’s Draft Copper Surface Protocol for qualifying bacteria.  EPA provides the following additional information for products that wish to have virus claims added.

  • Test Organisms
    • Bacteria -- Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC No. 6538) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (ATCC No. 15442) are the qualifying bacteria used to support supplemental residual surface claims.
      • Testing should be conducted on three product lots per bacterium at the LCL.
    • To support claims for additional bacteria, testing should be conducted according to the method but with a reduced number of product lots.
      • Two lots of product for each bacterium at the nominal concentration.
    • Viruses -- All viruses for which claims are desired should be tested.  The most difficult to kill virus should be subjected to the durability assessment in the copper method, followed by the efficacy assessment.  All other viruses should be tested using test carriers that were not subjected to the durability procedure.
      • Assessment of virucidal efficacy on the coated carriers should be conducted consistent with ASTM E1053, the standard method specified in EPA’s 810.2200 Efficacy Test Guideline.
      • Two lots of product at the LCL should be tested for the most difficult to kill virus.  Two lots of product at the nominal concentration should be tested for additional viruses.
  • The recommended number of abrasions (touches) and cycles of exposure to cleaning or disinfecting chemicals are provided in the method in order to substantiate durability claims.  The method also specifies the chemical solutions to simulate cycles of disinfection and cleaning.
    • As the durability of these types of products can be readily observed, duration claims are not necessary.  This is consistent with currently registered copper-containing surface products and paints.
    • If a product is incompatible with one or more of the test chemistries, this should be discussed with EPA in advance and may limit use sites and surfaces, depending on the nature of the incompatibility.  EPA states that it does not have a standard method for determining incompatibility.  This may be based on research and development data or known incompatibilities with the coating material, for example.
  • This protocol can be modified for other metals or solid impregnated surfaces or paints upon consultation with EPA.
  • Products should achieve a 99.9% reduction (3-log) for both bacteria and viruses in comparison to untreated controls within two hours.
    • The time to achieve performance begins at the time of inoculation.
  1. Fixed/Solid Surfaces Including Solid Copper and Other Metals and Solid Impregnated Materials and Paints -- Labeling and Additional Information

EPA states that these products should be labeled as supplemental residual antimicrobial surfaces.  EPA states the following with regard to these products:

  • As these products do not meet the criteria for a disinfectant due to the longer contact time and lower performance standard, claims for residual disinfectant are not acceptable.
  • Products should carry the following prominent label qualifier that they are a supplement to standard disinfection and cleaning:
    • “Although this product DOES NOT meet EPA’s standards for disinfectants, EPA has determined that, when used with an EPA-registered disinfectant, this product can provide some additional protection against [microorganism(s)] for up to X days. This product DOES NOT achieve the same level of efficacy as an EPA-registered disinfectant; it is only intended to provide supplemental protection between routine applications of EPA-registered disinfectants.”
  • For products eligible only for supplemental residual antimicrobial claims, EPA intends to require as a term of registration that the label and labeling should state, “This product does not meet EPA’s efficacy standards to qualify as a stand-alone disinfectant.”
  • Although these products will not be eligible for List N, they will be eligible as a supplement to List N (N.1) to reflect that they are supplemental treatments (i.e., not stand-alone disinfectants) and intended for use in combination with List N disinfectants.  The following are example acceptable product label claims:
    • “Kills 99.9% of [insert microorganism/s] within two hours of exposure when used as part of a comprehensive infection control program/protocol.”
    • “Continuously reduces [insert microorganism/s] within two hours of exposure when used as part of a comprehensive infection control program.”
  1. Supplemental Residual Antimicrobial Products -- Stewardship Program

EPA intends to require, as a term of registration, that registrants of all supplemental residual antimicrobial products prepare and implement a written stewardship plan designed to support the responsible use of supplemental residual coatings and antimicrobial surface products.  Unlike conventional antimicrobial products, EPA believes that these products represent unique challenges that require timely feedback to ensure proper use and compatibility in combination with current infection control practices.  EPA expects that plans would be submitted for EPA review and approval during the registration process, or shortly thereafter (e.g., within two months after the registration date).  An approvable plan would address the proper sale (including advertising and promotional materials), distribution, and responsible use of the supplemental residual coatings and antimicrobial surface products.  EPA states that plans should include, at a minimum, the following elements:

  • Advertising and promotional materials that clearly and consistently include a disclaimer that the product does not meet EPA’s standards for disinfectants and is intended to supplement the use of EPA-registered disinfectants.
  • Outreach to the infection control community;
  • Customer feedback consisting of product issues/concerns, adverse events, compliance challenges/observations, and contraindications/adverse events gathered through quarterly registrant-initiated surveys, customer complaints, and suggestion boards; and
  • Development of a stewardship website.

EPA states further that “if EPA determines at any time following registration that the Plan is not being adequately or timely implemented or does not effectively ensure the product’s safe and effective use, the registration may be cancelled by the Agency.”  It is not clear from the statement whether EPA intends such a cancellation to be a term of the registration or whether it would be undertaken pursuant to the standard FIFRA cancellation procedures.


 
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