In this article, industry manufacturers answer common questions asked by building service contractors.
Why are disinfectants classified as pesticides by the EPA? Why does this prevent them from being certified as green?
The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) law, called FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act) gives EPA the authority to regulate products that kill other things. Whether a crop application pesticide, a spray for termites, or a disinfectant for hard surfaces, all these products are regulated by EPA under the same act. The general grouping for these products is to call them pesticides, since what they kill are referred to as pests and since the regulation chose this term to classify the products.
The EPA issued a position several years ago that disinfectants and sanitizers could not be promoted as being green. This has nothing to do with the products being pesticides, but rather EPA does not want manufacturers claiming their products are safer/better/etc. based on the green certification, which would be outside the EPA registration process. EPA has developed their own program, called Design for the Environment (DfE) to allow for environmental claim based on meeting certain standards.
— Peter Teska, Americas portfolio lead for infection prevention, Diversey, Sturtevant, Wis.