EPA to Host Disinfection Hierarchy Workshop and Webinar

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On September 8, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will host a Disinfection Hierarchy Stakeholder Workshop and corresponding webinar on October 7, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (EDT). The “disinfection hierarchy” describes the descending order of susceptibility of classes of microorganisms to antimicrobial chemicals. Demonstrated efficacy against a representative organism would support a manufacturer’s claims against more susceptible (easier to kill) organisms, potentially eliminating the need to test against, or alternatively, to submit data for each individual organism. EPA has relied on the disinfection hierarchy concept historically. For example, EPA relied on the disinfection hierarchy concept to take timely action to address the H1N1 virus in 2009, by allowing reliance on Influenza A data. More recently, EPA states that it agreed that use of a registered hospital disinfectant with a label claim for use against a non-enveloped virus was appropriate for disinfection of surfaces contaminated with the ebola virus.

EPA is considering expanding its use of disinfection hierarchy concepts for the registration of public health antimicrobial pesticides. EPA states that its goals for expanding the use of these concepts are:

  1. To provide guidance to health care officials and the public on the most effective type of registered antimicrobial products on the market to combat an emerging pathogen; and
  2. To increase the efficiency of, and lower the costs associated with, registering antimicrobial pesticides, while maintaining a high level of public health protection.

According to the announcement, the workshop will focus on the scientific merits of the hierarchy, and will provide a forum for stakeholders to discuss:

  • The current science on which disinfection hierarchy concepts are based;
  • Scientific issues that may present challenges for use of the disinfection hierarchy in registering antimicrobial pesticide products; and
  • Ideas on how to address these issues.

A panel of approximately 15 stakeholders from the public sector, academia, and industry will address a series of charge questions, followed by the opportunity for audience questions or comments. The current list of panel members is available here.

EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs has developed a draft white paper on disinfection hierarchy concepts that will serve as the basis for discussion during the workshop. The draft white paper includes questions on which EPA states it is seeking input. The agenda for the workshop is available here.

More information on disinfection hierarchy is available in Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.’s (B&C®) memorandum Summary of Ninth Antimicrobial Workshop.

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