EPA Press Office (firstname.lastname@example.org)
WASHINGTON (March 13, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing an expanded list of EPA-registered disinfectant products that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The list contains nearly 200 additional products—including 40 new products that went through the agency’s expedited review process. The agency also made key enhancements to the web-based list to improve its usefulness.
“During this pandemic, it’s important that people can easily find the information they’re looking for when choosing and using a surface disinfectant,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “With this expanded list, EPA is making sure Americans have greater access to as many effective and approved surface disinfectant products as possible and that they have the information at their fingertips to use them effectively.”
While disinfectant products on this list have not been tested specifically against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, they are expected to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 because they have been tested and proven effective on either a harder-to-kill virus or against another human coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2.
The product list has also been updated to include the product’s active ingredient and the amount of time the surface should remain wet to be effective against the given pathogen.
To make the list more consumer friendly, information in the table is now sortable, searchable and printable, and can be easily viewed on a mobile device.
These additions make it easier for consumers to find surface disinfectants and instructions for using them effectively against SARS-CoV-2.
To view the list of EPA-registered disinfectant products, visit https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2
Tx Dept Health Asbestos Fine Matrix (PDF 4.8mb)
We have all experienced the chaos of the last several months and now the focus is slowly shifting to returning to work. As the focus shifts, questions arise about how this will happen, how is this going to work, and is the workplace safe to re-occupy?
Returning to work will likely happen gradually, with strict limitations on controlling capacity to maintain social distancing requirements and access to facilities. Workers returning to these spaces will want some assurances from the landlord and the businesses they work for that the spaces are clean, decontaminated and safe to work in. How can these landlords and business owners make these assurances?
During the lockdown, many businesses continued to provide cleaning services to their spaces to maintain a general level of cleanliness. Some businesses that continued to operate, had enhanced cleaning of high touch surfaces performed by their cleaning vendor, and some businesses had to have their spaces decontaminated after a presumptive or confirmed positive case was identified in their place of business. In most of these cases, the cleaning, enhanced cleaning and decontamination of surfaces was performed by the cleaning vendors that are regularly used by the landlords or businesses. But will this be enough assurance for the workers as they return to work?
The Environmental Information Association (EIA) is a not-for profit volunteer organization primarily focused on the management, control and removal of hazardous materials from buildings. On many projects, this includes the decontamination of spaces so that they can be re-used by the public. Our contractor and consultant members design, execute and monitor complex abatement projects throughout the nation on a daily basis. Our organization is made up of over 800 firms across the nation and includes abatement contractors, environmental consultants, abatement and material suppliers, environmental laboratories and key associates. Our members know how to help you navigate your way through these unprecedented times.
At the onset of the crisis in Ontario Canada, the Environmental Abatement Council of Ontario (EACO) – the Canadian Chapter of the EIA – decided to establish an Infection Control committee with the intent of producing a guideline for the decontamination of buildings in the Province of Ontario. EACO has a history of producing Industry Best Practice Guidelines when limited information is available from the scientific communities or regulatory agencies. The EACO Mould Abatement Guideline is a great example of this effort.
On March 27, 2020, EACO released version 1 of the guideline document “Emerging and Existing Pathogen Cleaning – Cleaning Best Practices for Environmental Professional Services”. The committee that developed the guideline consisted of abatement and decontamination contractors, experienced environmental consultants, certified industrial hygienists and material suppliers. Over 18 firms were represented on this committee and came to a consensus to produce this Industry-first guideline.
EIA contractor members are uniquely qualified to assist you during this crisis. Our firms understand crisis management and work within these confines daily, not just in response to the current crisis. Decontamination is our job – it’s what we do, so our members understand how to do it. We wear PPE on every job, every day – not just sometimes, so we know how to fit test respirators, don and doff protective clothing and gloves, decontaminate and protect ourselves.
When it comes to consulting on COVID-19 projects – our EIA consultant members are experts in project design, oversight, communication and verification. Like our contractor members, they do this kind of work every day, all the time. Documenting processes and overseeing on-site work as a normal course of business enables our consultant members to produce decontamination reports with verification testing to prove that your space is clean. This is something that cleaning contractors typically do not provide.
As you are planning your return to work strategy, make sure you focus on the assurances that your staff are going to want when they return to work. When you decide you need reliable, experienced, insured and trained professionals, contact our members at www.eia-usa.org
April 8, 2020
EPA’s science advisors are raising concerns over the narrow scope of the agency’s draft evaluation of asbestos, prompting changes to the charge questions they will consider when they assess the draft during a peer review meeting later this month so they can formally discuss their concerns. During an April 7 conference call to discuss the draft of the charge questions that the panel will discuss at its upcoming meeting, members of EPA’s Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC) raised questions over how EPA handled background asbestos exposures and why it excluded some diseases associated with asbestos exposure in the draft. There is “not a clear indication what proportion of asbestos exposures in the workplace or community [are] covered by this [draft evaluation],” Henry Anderson, the former chief medical officer for Wisconsin and a SACC member said.
“There should be some mention of the magnitude of the comparable exposures,” he added. The SACC is slated to meet April 27-30 to peer review the agency’s draft evaluation of asbestos, which found that that multiple evaluated uses of the substance pose “unreasonable” cancer risks via inhalation exposure to workers in several industry sectors, occupational non-users and consumers. But the draft has already drawn stiff criticism from environmentalists and a key House lawmaker, who are stepping up their efforts to have Congress approve legislation banning the mineral in part because EPA’s analysis is too narrowly focused and ignores multiple aspects of asbestos risk. Chemical industry officials have also criticized the draft for overstating risks to workers. During the SACC’s preparatory meeting, Anderson and others also raised concerns that EPA had precluded some exposure pathways, such as water ingestion, or exposures to air discharges from facilities that work with asbestos. EPA’s assessment largely focuses on occupational exposures to asbestos, and a few consumer uses, and Anderson voiced concern that the assessment is “not talking about chrysotile fibers that may be in the home, in the plants, chrysotile from drinking water…”
SACC Chairman Ken Portier, a statistician retired from the American Cancer Society, reminded Anderson of EPA’s general policy to exclude from its risk evaluations any exposures or hazards that can be regulated through other statutes, or fall under the jurisdiction of other agency offices or federal agencies. “I’m familiar,” Anderson replied. “I just think that there should be some mention” of the issue. Portier said that SACC has “included that [recommendation] in the past three reviews the committee has done.” Anderson’s point was supported by another panelist, Ruthann Rudel, research director at Silent Spring Institute, who suggested adding a question to SACC’s charge asking “whether EPA has adequately described the overall opportunities for exposure and shown which ones are being addressed and which ones are not very clearly and providing a little more information about the relative importance of the things that are being addressed and the things that aren’t?” Advisors and EPA staff discussed several changes to the charge that the SACC sought to allow panelists to better address areas of concern, or areas that EPA had not addressed in the charge. A final set of charge questions is due to the panel’s designated federal official, Diana Wong, by April 13, Wong said.
Background Exposures Tweet 4/9/2020 SACC Raises Concern Over Narrow Scope Of EPA’s Draft Asbestos Analysis | InsideEPA.com https://insideepa.com/daily-news/sacc-raises-concern-over-narrow-scope-epa’s-draft-asbestos-analysis 2/3
Panelist Kenny Crump, an independent statistical consultant, and others also raised concerns about how EPA handled background exposures in the draft evaluation, picking up on issues raised by public comments at the April 7 meeting. Crump noted that asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral, can be found in high levels in dirt in some areas, particularly in western states — and that individuals exposed in EPA’s conditions of use scenarios are also exposed to these background levels of asbestos. “One of the issues that has come up with background levels and occupational exposures is the extent to which the background is additive to the occupational exposure,” Crump said. He added that any kind of construction that disturbs dirt in areas with asbestos in it could increase exposures — from home construction to new roads. “We are focused on conditions of use that we know exist and are purposeful. I get that many different [asbestos] fibers are naturally occurring. There are high levels in some background exposures, but it is not purposeful,” Louis Scarano, EPA’s chemical manager for asbestos, said of the draft TSCA evaluation, though he added that staff “spent a fair amount of time” discussing the issue in relation to the consumer conditions of use in the draft. Another panelist, Brad Van Gosen, a U.S. Geological Survey research geologist, also expressed concern with some of the exposures omitted from the draft evaluation, questioning why EPA has “limited the list to the sources you have. Consumer exposure wouldn’t just be limited to brakes…” Van Gosen urged EPA in the evaluation to be clear about why it is excluded some sources of exposure. And he noted that some asbestos exposure sources do not have clear regulatory overseers. “The natural occurrence [of asbestos] in rock or a hillside … that’s always been a gray area, who’s responsible, other than California doing it as a state,” he said. “After all these years I’m still not sure where that fits in.”
Portier said that the issue of “the extent to which ambient levels of asbestos impinge on these occupational exposures” is one that SACC has discussed with other chemical evaluations the panel has reviewed over the past year “quite often.” He encouraged the panelists to write down and remember the issues raised for the peer review meeting later in the month. “If you don’t see what you want there it’s fair game to comment on it,” he told the panelists. The comments came after one public speaker, Brett Kynoch managing director of the Environmental Information Association (EIA), a group concerned with environmental and occupational health hazards in the built environment, protested EPA’s decision to evaluate risks posed by “legacy” uses of asbestos in a separate supplemental evaluation – after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit directed EPA to address such uses. “A supplement will not adequately address the exposures and concerns that are still used throughout the U.S.,” Kynoch said, adding that excluding them will underestimate cancer rates.
“The supplemental risk evaluation will do nothing if it is not integrated into the rest of the evaluation.” Another public speaker, a physician and epidemiologist, questioned EPA’s decision to exclude from the evaluation diseases other than lung cancer and mesothelioma. He urged the agency to consider pleural disease, which he said “occurs at low doses, comparable to those that would be at increased risk for malignancy … I’m suggesting it should be looked at because it could occur at lower numbers and pleural disease is something we want to avoid.” Noncancer Diseases Some panelists also appeared concerned that EPA did not consider noncancer diseases associated with asbestos exposure, with Van Gosen asking why asbestosis was not in the evaluation, prompting SACC member Holly Davies, a toxicologist with Washington state’s health department, to urge EPA to add a charge question for the panel about noncancer effects. Tom Bateston, an epidemiologist with EPA’s research office, told SACC when EPA crafted the problem formulation for the asbestos evaluation in 2018, “our initial calculations were that cancer risk would be the risk driver overall and that is why we focused on cancer. We do make mention in the draft risk evaluation that there can be risks for noncancer and that was considered in the risk determination of deaths.” EPA staff also committed to adding another question to the charge, after Davies noticed that the draft charge did not contain any questions about physical chemical properties of the asbestos, and said it “seems like there should be a question on physical chemical properties.”
Limited data on chemical properties have been an area of concern for 4/9/2020 SACC Raises Concern Over Narrow Scope Of EPA’s Draft Asbestos Analysis | InsideEPA.com https://insideepa.com/daily-news/sacc-raises-concern-over-narrow-scope-epa’s-draft-asbestos-analysis 3/3 several of SACC’s peer reviews among the first eight TSCA draft evaluations the panel has reviewed. Especially in areas with limited information, EPA has used properties to guide modeling or assumptions about hazard and toxicity. Crump agreed with Davies, particularly for a mineral like asbestos that exists in varying fiber types. “It’s important to ask whether the physical chemical properties of asbestos you’re regulating are similar to the asbestos you used [to develop the risk evaluation] … like dimensions and those kind of properties,” Crump said. Scarano committed to Portier that he would ensure a new question about properties will be added to SACC’s charge. -Maria Hegstad (email@example.com)
Washington, DC – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published guidelines for steps and considerations in workplaces and facilities that have been infected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Included in their guidelines are recommendations that all workers be trained in the use of PPE, OSHA guidelines for the handling of hazardous chemicals and the OSHA standards on bloodborne pathogens.
Davenport, IA – EPA has reached a settlement with a Moline busines for its failure to provide proper disclosure of lead paint at residential properties in Davenport. The EPA says Selby Enterprises LLC will pay a penalty and complete an environmentally beneficial project for its violations of the Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rules under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.The matter was referred to EPA by the Scott County Health Department. The company has also agreed to complete abatement and clearance testing of lead-based paint at a Davenport house built in 1905, through a certified lead abatement contractor at the cost of $14,250.
US Government Accountability Office
Washington, DC – By the end of 2018, over 4 million low-income households were being served by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s three largest rental assistance programs. HUD must ensure that housing units provided under these programs are safe and sanitary. However, in this statement for the congressional record we reported that HUD needs to improve its efforts to address lead paint hazards in these housing units as well as its process for inspecting properties to identify physical problems.
National – A House committee approved legislation Nov. 19 to ban asbestos but allow certain chemical manufacturers to transition away from use of the cancer-causing mineral. The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved on a 47-1 vote H.R. 1603, an amended version of the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act of 2019. The bill would ban the mineral, with a few exemptions, within one year.
IICRC and RIA
National – The restoration industry has extensive experience in assisting individuals and organizations when their lives have been disrupted by catastrophic events such as floods and fires. Many clients are turning to restoration professionals to assist them in properly responding to the coronavirus pandemic referred to as COVID-19. In such circumstances it is imperative that restoration professionals be clear about what their services can, and cannot, accomplish for the client. This document has been prepared by a wide range of experts from the cleaning and restoration industry to assist contractors in managing the risks arising from efforts to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.