The EPA will decide after the coronavirus crisis subsides whether some of the “administrative hoops” it dropped to quickly get disinfectants in the hands of hospitals, factories, and homes are needed, a top agency official said Wednesday.
The Environmental Protection Agency has used a variety of tools to quickly increase the number of disinfectants available to fight the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19, Alexandra Dapolito Dunn, assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention, said during prerecorded remarks posted by the American Bar Association prior to a Thursday virtual meeting.
These tools include a temporary policy the EPA updated on April 14 describing situations in which companies making disinfectants for the coronavirus can change certain ingredients or sources of those ingredients without the normal requirement to notify the agency. For example, ethanol, a type of alcohol, can be made from sources including coal, microbes, and natural gas.
“If a baker is changing its source of flour, we don’t need to know where it’s coming from as long as it’s the same quality and the company maintains its records,” Dunn said.
Dropping such “administrative hoops” has helped disinfectant manufacturers get their products to market without putting public health or the environment at risk, she said.
After the emergency subsides, the pesticide office will consider whether the typical requirements add value or if the adaptions it’s temporarily made are worth keeping, Dunn said.
If the agency thinks the flexibility is useful, it would proceed with a formal rulemaking or other process, she said.