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What are antimicrobials?

Antimicrobial products kill or slow the spread of microorganisms. Micro-organisms include bacteria, viruses, protozoans, and fungi such as mold and mildew.  You may find antimicrobial products in your home, work-place, or school.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates antimicrobial products as pesticides, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates antimicrobial products as drugs/antiseptics. As pesticides, anti-microbial products are used on objects such as countertops, toys, grocery carts, and hospital equipment. As antiseptics, antimicrobial products are used to treat or prevent diseases on people, pets, and other living things.

If a product shows “EPA” anywhere on the label, you know it’s a pesticide and NOT meant for use on the body. This fact sheet will focus on antimicrobials used as pesticides.

If a product label claims to kill, control, repel, mitigate or reduce a pest, it is a pesticide regulated by the U.S. EPA.  When manufacturers make this kind of claim on the label, they must also include:

•     application instructions that are effective at killing or controlling the pest, and
•     first aid instructions, in case of accidental exposure.

Additional information can be read in the attached download document.

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