Antimicrobial agents’ are pesticides that control unwanted microbes on inanimate objects, in water, and on selected foods under certain circumstances. These pesticides are almost always chemicals, and they act by killing or inactivating microbes that are pests. Antimicrobial pesticides include the disinfectants used in swimming pools, drinking water supplies, and in hospitals to control microbes that can cause disease. When used in a school, the New Jersey School IPM Act considers antimicrobials to be ‘low impact’ pesticides.
“Antimicrobial agents” means:
- Disinfectants intended to destroy or irreversibly inactivate infectious or other undesirable bacteria, pathogenic fungi, or viruses on surfaces or inanimate objects; Bacteriostats intended to inhibit the growth of bacteria in the presence of moisture; Sterilizers intended to destroy viruses and all living bacteria, fungi, and their spores, on inanimate surfaces; or Sanitizers intended to reduce the number of living bacteria or viable virus particles on inanimate surfaces, in water, or in air; Fungicides and fungistats intended to inhibit the growth of, or destroy fungi (including yeasts) pathogenic to man or other animals on inanimate surfaces; Commodity preservatives and protectants intended to inhibit the growth of, or destroy bacteria in or on raw materials (such as adhesives or plastics) used in manufacturing, or manufactured products (such as fuel, textiles, lubricants, and paints); or
- General use algicides labeled for use in:
- Swimming pools, hot tubs, whirlpools, spas, ornamental ponds, fountains, fish tanks, and waterbeds;
- Water, wastewater and sewerage treatment plants, but only where there is a controlled inlet and outlet; and
- Industrial, commercial, and manufacturing processes.
Source: NJDEP Pesticide Control Program Regulation (Adopted 5/18/08)
New Jersey Administrative Code Title 7 Chapter 30; Subchapter 7:30-1.2 Definitions
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides that antimicrobial products contain about 275 different active ingredients and are marketed in several formulations: sprays, liquids, concentrated powders, and gases. Further, more than 5,000 antimicrobial products are currently registered with EPA and sold in the marketplace. Some examples of antimicrobial pesticide chemicals can be found in the Antimicrobial Chemical Indexes, which are available on the EPA Pesticide Web site at Antimicrobial Chemical/Registration Number Indexes.
For more information on antimicrobial pesticides, you may contact EPA’s Antimicrobial Hotline, weekdays between 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at (703) 308-0127; fax: (703) 308-6467; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.