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EPA Proposes Plan to Ensure Effectiveness of Hospital Disinfectants, Help Reduce Infection, and Increase Patient Safety

For Release: October 2, 2019

  • EPA’s new Antimicrobial Performance Evaluation Program (APEP) will help ensure hospital-level disinfectants remain effective after EPA completes the antimicrobial registration process.
  • Disinfectants are a key component to protect public health and prevent the spread of infections in hospitals and healthcare settings.
  • Continuous testing of the approximately 850 EPA-registered hospital disinfectants under the new APEP will help ensure their effectiveness and reduce infections, resulting in increased patient safety and an improved hospital experience for all patients, their families and those who work in hospitals or healthcare setting.

EPA is announcing a new draft strategy for selecting and testing hospital disinfectants to ensure these products continue to be effective after they enter the marketplace. While EPA ensures disinfectant products are effective before they can be sold, the new Antimicrobial Performance Evaluation Program (APEP) draft strategy goes a step further by laying out a risk-based approach for confirming hospital disinfectants remain effective and are used properly after they are registered.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 687,000 healthcare associated infections occur annually in acute-care hospitals, and on any given day, 1 in 31 hospital patients contracts a healthcare-associated infection. Hospital disinfectants are fundamental to control organisms like C. difficile and MRSA and prevent infections.

EPA sought input from the public as well as stakeholders from industry, healthcare, and state and federal governments in preparing the APEP draft strategy. In 2018, EPA held webinar listening sessions, followed by a public comment period. Due to the public health relevance of this action, and to ensure transparency, EPA is seeking additional stakeholder input on the APEP draft strategy by asking for public comments. Comments will be accepted for 60 days and should be submitted to under docket # EPA-HQ-OPP-2018-0265 on or before Dec. 2, 2019. After considering public comments, the Agency will revise the APEP strategy as appropriate. EPA expects to publish the APEP final strategy in 2020. Implementation is scheduled to begin in 2022. 

Once finalized, the APEP will replace the Antimicrobial Testing Program (ATP), which EPA suspended in November 2017, consistent with recommendations from the Agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

Find more information about the APEP on our website.