Each blog entry addressing the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 reflects the continuing onslaught of the pandemic. According to the Johns Hopkins Virus Tracker as of this writing on April 11, 2020, worldwide cases number more than 1,760,000 cases and deaths number more than 107,000. Spread across the U.S. continues, with more than 519,000 cases and 20,000 deaths reported. New York continues to have by far the greatest concentration of cases and deaths in the U.S., accounting for a significant portion of each.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA”) has recently announced actions to prevent the sales of products making fraudulent disinfectant claims asserting the ability to control the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In the U.S., disinfectants are regulated as pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”). Each individual product must be registered with EPA as well as every state in which it is offered for sale. A violation of FIFRA, such as selling an unregistered disinfectant, carries a penalty of up to $20,288 for each offense.
EPA actions include educational efforts with major retailers and retail trade associations, as well as enforcement actions directed at specific products for which fraudulent claims are being made. EPA is coordinating with major online retailers to assist them in identifying unlawful products. Amazon has stated that it has removed from its listings more than 6 million products making illegal claims and has created algorithms to screen listings for such products.
While urging the public to report illegal products, EPA does not reveal any information regarding pending investigations or enforcement actions. Only when a matter is resolved does information become public. Nonetheless EPA has identified four products and their associated claims as examples of unlawful claims and presumably the subject of enforcement actions. They are:
- Lanyards that claim to protect wearers from coronavirus
- “Virus Shut Out-Portable Protection Card-Virus Protection and Personal Health (5 PCS)”
- “Air Sterilization Card Disinfection Lanyard Protection Card Household Outdoor Antibacterial Sterilization Health Care”
- Unregistered disinfectant tablets
- “Epidemic prevention Chlorinating Tablets Disinfectant Chlorine Tablets Swimming Pool Instant Disinfection Tablets Chlorine Dioxide Effervescent Tablet Chlorine Disinfectant 100g Cozy apposite Fun Suit”
- “The Flu Virus Buster, CLO2 Disinfection Sticker, Removable sterilize air purifier, Anti COVID-19, Stop Coronavirus disease infection /Influenza Buster Disinfectant 1 Box / 10 Tablets”
- Unregistered disinfectant sprays
- “Fullerene silver antibacterial solution/24 Hour Defense Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Spray Against Corona Virus COVID- 19 Kills 99.99% Of Germs Bacteria 24 Hours of Lasting Protection Alcohol Free 50ml (1.7 fl. oz)”
- Unregistered disinfectant wipes
- “99.9% Sterilization Wipes/16/32/48/64/96pcs Sterilization Rate of 99% Disinfection Wet Wipes and Paper Napkin Prevention of Coronavirus”
For more information about EPA’s action addressed to SARS-CoV-2 and disinfectants used to control the virus, see EPA Information for Registrants Regarding Disinfectants for the Control of SARS-CoV-2