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Retailers: help stop COVID-19 with EPA-approved disinfectants

For brands bringing new disinfectants to market, retailers attempting to communicate accurate COVID-19 instructions and safety information, and consumers trying to make the best health and safety product selections during a pandemic: read this and take action. Data can help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The attached data set is currently the only available source that maps Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Registration Numbers (EPA Reg. Nos.) directly to Universal Product Codes (UPCs). Use this data. Stop the spread.

The EPA recently published this list of 351 COVID-19 combatting disinfectants—and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends abiding by this list. The instructions from the EPA for verifying whether a product is on this list or not are below:

“When purchasing a product, verify its EPA registration number is on this list. If it is, you have a match—and the product is usable against SARS-CoV-2. You can find this number on the product label listed as the ‘EPA Reg. No.’ These products may be marketed and sold under different brand names, but if they have the same EPA registration number, they are the same product.”

Unfortunately, this verification process requires in-store customers to physically inspect product labels to clarify whether a disinfectant product is EPA-approved to kill COVID-19. This dangerous, touch-and-go scenario will only increase the likelihood of virus transmission. 

Smarter Sorting believes there is a better way to communicate which disinfectants are approved by the EPA to kill COVID-19. This starts with accurate, accessible data available to consumers and retailers well before a trip to the grocery store.

We know a thing or two about disinfectants because we spend the entirety of our waking hours analyzing chemical consumer products’ composition, safety guidelines, and regulatory codes for product shipping, usage, and disposal.

Using this collected information, we’ve created a data structure known as the “Product Genome.” We describe the Product Genome as not only a product’s chemical and physical makeup—but also how these attributes apply in the real, regulated world. We are the only ones to possess such a data set today.

One of these Product Genome attributes is the EPA Reg. No.

To promote product transparency, public health, and consumer safety, Smarter Sorting is sharing relevant attributes of its Product Genome data to highlight EPA-approved COVID-19 disinfectant products. This inventory—which features 1,370 cleaning products—was published in partnership with Data.World. 

Access the Data Set Here

We have included the UPC for each disinfectant, which will allow retailers to scan their inventories for EPA-approved disinfectants quickly. With this data in tow, stores can prioritize on-shelf placement of these products, or feed this information into their e-commerce platforms. Consumers, in turn, can verify products online (while practicing social distancing at home) or make more accurate, hands-off decisions in the aisle. 

Additionally, our data set includes the “Advised Contact Time” for each disinfectant (the duration a disinfectant should remain wet on a surface to ensure the killing of all viruses). This metric is as important as the “20-second hand washing” rule. Knowing if a product has an Advised Contact Time of 10 minutes or 10 seconds has major implications.

Furthermore, we have included “Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)” for each disinfectant. The SDSs include safety information for both consumers and employees for usage, spills, and disposal. 

Finally, a callout to manufacturers: If your disinfectant is not currently included on the EPA list, follow these instructions to apply for classification (given that your product meets the guidelines). 

We’re all in this together. And together, with better data, we can make better decisions—and realize a healthier, safer planet.