Good news: There are a lot of them. Bad news: They're selling out quick.

By Leah Groth
March 06, 2020
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Soon after the novel coronavirus emerged in December 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and other authorities on public health made one thing clear: Proper hygiene—both personal and environmental—are the best protection against the virus, which is spread from person-to-person via infected droplets or contaminated surfaces. That's why, on Thursday, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a list of EPA-registered disinfectant products that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

"Using the correct disinfectant is an important part of preventing and reducing the spread of illnesses along with other critical aspects such as hand washing," EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler explained in a press release on Thursday. "EPA is providing this important information in a public and transparent manner on disinfectant products to help reduce the spread of COVID-19."

All of the products chosen by the agency have been approved for use against COVID-19 through the agency’s Emerging Viral Pathogen program, in which each manufacturer is required to provide the EPA with data, even before an outbreak, proving their products are effective against viruses that are “harder-to-kill” than SARS-CoV-2. The EPA explains that coronaviruses in general are “enveloped viruses," which basically means they are easy to kill, if you use the right disinfectant product and follow the directions provided on the label.

Included on the EPA’s list of approved disinfectants include multiple products from brands like Clorox and Lysol—including Clorox toilet cleaners with bleach, Clorox disinfectant sprays and wipes, Lysol toilet bowl cleaners, and Lysol multi-surface cleaners and disinfectant sprays—along with Purell disinfectant wipes. However, they also point out that products “may be marketed and sold under a variety of names”—ie, generics—and as long as they have the same EPA registration number as the primary product, they're OK to use, too. (JSYK, however, many of these products are becoming increasingly harder to find, due to "panic-buying" that has ensued by the coronavirus outbreak.)

In addition to using these EPA-registered products, it's just as important to keep your own personal hygiene up to snuff. The best way to do that? Washing your hands per the CDC’s recommended method, using hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol, and trying as best you can to avoid touching your face so much—all effective ways to keep yourself not only coronavirus-free, but free of other viruses too.

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDC, WHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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