The EPA announced in July 2020 that the List N will be updated in the coming months.
These updates were to include the consideration of adding in whether or not that particular disinfectant can be used inside an electrostatic sprayer.
What is list-N?
List N is the list of registered disinfectants that are certified to either kill SARS-CoV-2 directly or other enveloped viruses more difficult to kill than coronavirus.
The disinfection process was made simple by the CDC:
1) pre-clean and
There are no other steps to the process.
There are no mentions of alternative processes like electrostatic spraying.
In fact, the EPA, in conjunction with the CDC, issued guidelines that purposely omitted spraying disinfectants, and even discouraged it. However, these guidelines in the process involved spraying in a medical setting, inside of patient rooms, with formaldehyde no less based on some of their examples.
We supported the use of an electrostatic sprayer.
Why? The alternative is to either fill a small bucket with disinfecting solution and wipe, or use a trigger spray bottle and squeeze that trigger thousands of times to coat with disinfectant so the dwell time can be met.
We supported the sprayer to specifically target clean surfaces without wasting disinfectant. It’s a more efficient system of delivering disinfectant. Electrostatic sprayers also produce a charge and that charge creates a wrap-around effect on surfaces, ensuring a more even coat.
Unfortunately the challenge with a delivery device like electrostatic is that it can molecularly change the disinfectant to make it inert or ineffective towards SARS-CoV-2 or other germs.
Update to EPA’s List-N
We recently noticed the updates to List N to include a “formulation type” column within the list and that column includes products that have been tested and approved by the EPA to use through that particular method, including electrostatic disinfecting. While we don’t view this update as an endorsement of electrostatic disinfecting, we do see it as a warming to the idea.
Always Clean Before Disinfection
It’s Universal’s position that electrostatic disinfecting should never ever be the only method to the disinfection process. Some of our competitors spray only without even cleaning the surface first. Whether by us or another cleaning contractor, that step is a very critical one that is often ignored by others.
We also feel that safety considerations do still need to be made, including the dwell time of the product, whether or not that sprayed disinfectant is used for porous or non-porous surfaces, the pH of that product, and other environmental considerations like surface types and humidity.
Of the 500+ List N disinfectants on the list, less than 10 are certified to be used in a fog or spray device.
That number will increase in time, but it will never hit 100% as some manufacturers clearly state on the label that their product must not be used in an electrostatic device. Of the small number that are certified to be used in electrostatic, Universal Janitorial Services Inc. already uses one of those in our daily disinfecting process.