As a general consumer, one most likely has little need to know the difference between a treated article claim and a public health claim. However, as a consumer for products for healthcare communities, including those that make claims about antimicrobial, biocidal, or infection control supports, it's essential to know the difference. Here is a quick overview.
Whenever a product with EPA-registered Public Health Claims puts those claims in writing, you'll see an * or t after the word bacteria or germs. For example, "XYZ kills >99.9% of harmful bacteria* in under two hours." You'll find this on the labels of cleaning products in your home, as well as on industrial strength cleaners found in hospitals or other healthcare facilities. What does it mean?
Securing an EPA Registration for Public Health Claims is difficult, time-consuming, and costly. However, the registration, while not an endorsement or certification, is a standard by which products can be evaluated and chosen with confidence. An EPA registration number tells consumers that the product has gone through rigorous testing and found not to be a threat to consumer health or the environment.1
Many products in the marketplace have an EPA registration. What does that mean?
An Environmental Protection Agency's Registered Public Health Claim is the agency’s highest standard for products hoping to make statements regarding their impact on harmful bacteria and, as a result, the reduction in the bioburden. Because the registration permits the product to make statements (claims) about killing microbes that are otherwise harmful to people, the agency has set a very high bar for achieving their registration. The ability to make Public Health Claims is a lengthy process that is difficult to achieve and requires that a product first submit testing protocols for prior approval and then the product itself is submitted for rigorous testing against those protocols to ensure that it is both efficacious and durable.
As those of us in the northern hemisphere transition from summer to winter, we will also be experiencing another shift in seasons, especially those of us who live and work in the field of infection control and prevention. Along with the end of warmer months is the end of the summer's favorite pathogens: Gram negative bacteria. And looming ahead in the winter? Cooler months' weapon of choice: Viruses like influenza. We'll explore seasonality in infection control and prevention in today's post.