Antimicrobial pesticides are substances or mixtures of substances used to destroy or suppress the growth of harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi on inanimate objects and surfaces. Antimicrobial products contain about 275 different active ingredients and are marketed in several formulations: sprays, liquids, concentrated powders, and gases. Today, approximately one billion dollars each year are spent on a variety of different types of antimicrobial products. More than 5,000 antimicrobial products are currently registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and sold in the marketplace. Nearly 60% of antimicrobial products are registered to control infectious microorganisms in hospitals and other health care environments.
Antimicrobial pesticides have two major uses:
1) Disinfect, sanitize, reduce, or mitigate growth or development of microbiological organisms;
2) Protect inanimate objects (for example floors and walls), industrial processes or systems, surfaces, water, or other chemical substances from contamination, fouling, or deterioration caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, algae, or slime.
This category does not include certain pesticides intended for food use but does encompass pesticides with a wide array of other uses. For example, antimicrobial pesticides act as preserving agents in paints, metalworking fluids, wood supports, and many other products to prevent their deterioration.
Some examples of antimicrobial pesticide chemicals can be found in the Antimicrobial Chemical Indexes, which are available on the EPA Pesticide Web site at http://www.epa.gov/oppad001/chemregindex.htm.
Types of Antimicrobial Products
Antimicrobial products are divided into two categories based on the type of microbial pest against which the product works:
The more commonly used public health antimicrobial products include the following:
EPA on Disinfectants: Created on October 17th, 2007. Last Modified on October 17th, 2007
The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, the EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people. At laboratories located throughout the nation, the agency works to assess environmental conditions and to identify, understand and solve current and future environmental problems.
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