NIOSH Webpage Highlights CDC Guidance for Chemical Disinfectants

A new NIOSH webpage, Hazard Communication for Disinfectants Used Against Viruses, provides information on health hazards that could be caused by cleaning products and disinfectants. Also included are recommendations for barriers (e.g., gloves) and respiratory protection that workers can use to protect themselves from these hazards. When using disinfectants, the proper barrier protection should be used. This information, focusing on worker safety, supplements existing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for disinfection of viruses.

Both cleaning and disinfecting are important for reducing the spread of viral illnesses. Some viruses may remain viable (living) for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice for preventing the spread of viral illnesses in the workplace. Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. Disinfecting does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs that remain on a surface after cleaning, disinfecting can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

The web page contains a table that provides information about health hazards associated with recommended disinfectants for use against viruses and suggestions for how individuals can protect themselves against those health hazards while using the products. The table includes the following information:

• The chemical name and common names for that chemical
• The chemical abstract service number (CAS No.)
• Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) pictograms
• Health and flammability-related hazard statements
• Recommended glove barriers
• Recommended respiratory protection (commonly known as personal protective equipment)

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