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FAQ - Disinfection - 2013
 FAQ -  Disinfection -  2013



Do you know if there is a list of products or guidelines for Surface Disinfectants that pass the OSHA guidelines for bloodborne pathogens?

Ask OSAP does not review, evaluate, certify, recommend or endorse products. Ask OSAP also does not provide technical support for specific products. If you have further questions about procedures and specific products it is recommended that you consult with the manufacturer’s written instruction manual and/or contact the manufacturer of your product.

 The US Department of Labor – Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states on its Website as follows:

 Frequently Asked Questions: Bloodborne Pathogens

What does OSHA currently accept as "appropriate" disinfectants to prevent the spread of HIV and HBV?

A review of the initial intent of the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard that specifically deals with the cleaning of contaminated work surfaces, i.e., 1910.1030(d)(4)(ii)(A), reveals that OSHA intended to provide a performance-based provision that would allow for future development of "appropriate disinfectant" products. OSHA has reviewed the information on the disinfectants and has reconsidered its position on EPA-registered disinfectants that are labeled as effective against HBV and HIV. OSHA's current stance is that EPA-registered disinfectants for HIV and HBV meet the requirement in the standard and are "appropriate" disinfectants to clean contaminated surfaces, provided such surfaces have not become contaminated with agent(s) or volumes of or concentrations of agent(s) for which higher level disinfection is recommended.

It is important to emphasize the EPA-approved label section titled "SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR CLEANING AND DECONTAMINATION AGAINST HIV-1 AND HBV Of SURFACES\OBJECTS SOILED WITH BLOOD\BODY FLUIDS." On the labels that OSHA has seen, these instructions require:

  1. personal protection devices for the worker performing the task;
  2. that all the blood must be cleaned thoroughly before applying the disinfectant;
  3. that the disposal of the infectious waste is in accordance with federal, state, or local regulations; and
  4. that the surface is left wet with the disinfectant for 30 seconds for HIV-1 and 10 minutes for HBV."

Reference Interpretation and Compliance Letters:



Who determines which disinfectants are appropriate?

Appropriate or approved disinfectants are determined by the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), which oversees the registration of anti-microbial products. A list maintained by the Office of Pesticide Programs provides the most recent information available from the EPA on registered anti-microbials.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has information on its Website regarding selected EPA-registered disinfectants which can be accessed here:   3

Practical Infection Control In Dentistry states:

Each year additional surface disinfectant preparations appear in the marketplace. Yet, despite an increasingly crowded commercial arena, it is important for healthcare providers to realize that there is no single best product. Instead, there are choices of different, appropriate formulations, each of which has received Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval as a hospital-level disinfectant. If barriers are not used, surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected using an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant with a low-level (i.e., HIV and HBV label claims) to intermediate-level (i.e., tuberculocidal claim) activity after each patient. An intermediate-level disinfectant should be used when the surface is visibly contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious materials. The use of low-level disinfectant products with HIV and HBV label claims is supported by the scientific literature: however, selecting one appropriate product with a higher degree of potency (i.e., intermediate-level disinfectant ) to cover all situations is more practical. 4

In summary, OSHA recognizes surface disinfectants with EPA approval for use as a hospital-level disinfectant. The EPA keeps a database of approved surface disinfectant products. If you have questions regarding specific products, it is recommended that you contact the manufacturer directly.


1.      US Department of Labor – Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Frequently Asked Questions: Bloodborne Pathogens.   Accessed on May 16, 2013.

2.      US Department of Labor – Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Housekeeping.  Accessed on May 16, 2013.

3.      US Environmental Protection Agency. Selected EPA-registered Disinfectants.   Accessed on May 16, 2013.

4.      Molinari JA and Harte JA. Practical Infection Control In Dentistry – Third Edition. Wolters Kluwer / Lippincott / Williams & Wilkins. Page 187.





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