ISSA, Ashkin Group Meet with EPA Subcommittee

Bill Balek, director of Legislative Affairs for ISSA, Chicago, and Stephen Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group, met recently with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC) Work Group on Comparative Claims in Washington, D.C.

As part of EPA, the PPDC provides a forum for various groups to discuss policy and regulatory changes to the agency's pesticide registration process.

Balek and Ashkin met with the committee and recommended a pilot program that would allow manufacturers to make "green" claims on disinfectants and sanitizers used in institutional settings. EPA currently prohibits manufacturers or distributors from labeling or marketing disinfectants or sanitizers as "Green". This policy is based on EPA's determination that Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) registration is sufficient assurance of a product's safety and effectiveness and that any additional claims may be misleading.

However, ISSA and The Ashkin Group both maintain that the professional cleaning industry has broadly accepted the use of Green cleaning products and that end customers want to be able to identify and use environmentally preferable disinfectants and sanitizers

According to Ashkin, "Ultimately, we provided the EPA with three different options to consider," he says. "They agreed to meet with us again in February 2009 and, if they decide to move forward, we will meet again in April and should have an idea of what the [implementation] timetable will be."

The three options presented to the EPA were as follows:

1. Manufacturers could have their disinfectants/sanitizers certified by leading certification organizations as they do now on other cleaning products, and market them as Green-certified.

2. Green-certification labeling and identification would be allowed only through the EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) program.

3. Manufacturers would be allowed to make "factual claims" about their products, such as that they are biodegradable or made from bio-based ingredients, as long as the claim could be substantiated.

ISSA's Balek observed, "We remain confident that EPA will carve a reasonable path forward, allowing the use of objective and verifiable claims of environmental preferability regarding disinfectants and sanitizers to the benefit of the institutional market."