In October of 2020 US EPA issued a Compliance Advisory regarding the regulations of UV lights that claim to kill or be effective against viruses and bacteria like the virus that causes COVID-19. UV lights used to kill bacteria or viruses are regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). EPA issued this Compliance Advisory to inform and remind consumers and manufacturers of the various requirements that UV lights making these claims must follow.
UV lights claiming to kill bacteria or viruses must meet the following requirements:
They must be produced in an EPA-registered pesticide producing establishment and follow the production reporting requirements found in 40 CFR Part 167.
- Must be labeled per the requirements found in 40 CFR Part 156. Generally, device labels must include warning and caution statements, directions for use, and the EPA establishment number.
- All claims in connection with the sale or distribution of a device must be true and not misleading. This includes claims made in marketing materials and on websites.
- Importers of all FIFRA-regulated devices must comply with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations set forth at 19 CFR 12.110-12.117.
- If the UV light product incorporates a substance or mixture of substances to perform its intended pesticidal purpose, then it is considered a pesticide product, not a device, and must be registered with EPA in accordance with FIFRA Section 3 before it can be lawfully sold or distributed in the US.
In the advisory EPA warns consumers that it does not routinely review safety or efficacy of UV light devices and therefore it has not conducted human health risk assessments to determine the safety of these products. EPA instructs consumers to use all pesticidal devices only in accordance with the Direction for Use, which are required to appear on the product label, and that consumers contact the manufacturer or seller of the device directly if they have questions about its use and safety.
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