News Releases from Headquarters›Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP)
Administrator Wheeler Kicks Off Region 6 Visit in Texas
DALLAS (November 18, 2020) — While in Texas, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler viewed an American Airlines disinfecting demonstration thanks to EPA’s first-ever long-lasting antiviral product for use against COVID-19. While in the Lone Star State Administrator Wheeler also visited the Region 6 office in downtown Dallas.
“EPA had to adapt to the coronavirus outbreak by creating a new permitting process that could allow innovative new products to be quickly and effectively tested and deemed safe for use,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This long-lasting disinfectant is a great innovation and could help the aviation industry in the coming months.”
“At EPA, we are committed to combatting the spread of the coronavirus through innovative solutions, and expedited approvals of disinfectants that kill the virus so more Americans and businesses can have greater access to EPA-approved solutions,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “It was an honor to welcome Administrator Wheeler to Region 6 to see first-hand one of the latest examples of the tools being used to protect human health.”
During the demonstration, Administrator Wheeler viewed electrostatic spraying of SurfaceWise 2 in the galley and first-class cabin of a 737 plane.
In August, EPA announced a groundbreaking development in the Trump Administration’s efforts to combat the novel coronavirus. In a first-of-its kind step, EPA issued an emergency exemption to the state of Texas permitting it to allow American Airlines and Total Orthopedics Sports & Spine to use a new product that kills coronavirus like the SARS-CoV-2 virus on surfaces for up to seven days. After carefully reviewing the available data and information, the agency has determined that the product helps to address the current national emergency. This product is expected to provide longer-lasting protection in public spaces, increasing consumer confidence in resuming normal air travel and other activities.
EPA approved the emergency exemption requests submitted under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). SurfaceWise2 — a product manufactured by Allied BioScience completely in the United States — is a surface coating that inactivates viruses and bacteria within two hours of application and continues to work against them for up to seven days. EPA's approval allowed Texas to permit American Airlines airport facilities and planes at specific locations and two Total Orthopedics Sports & Spine Clinics to use SurfaceWise2 under certain conditions.
In October, EPA released a draft guidance to ensure that Americans have access to as many tools as possible to clean and disinfect surfaces and protect their families against the novel coronavirus. Through the draft guidance companies will now be able 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.
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 will begin expediting the registration process for these products immediately and may revise the guidance after the 60-day public comment period ends.
The guidance specifies scientific testing requirements for two different types of products: supplemental residual antimicrobial products and residual disinfectants. 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 do not replace, routine cleaning and disinfection using products from EPA's List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (List N). Approved supplemental residual antimicrobial products are not eligible for inclusion on List N but will be added to a separate List N appendix.