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DEC Asks, "Are Your Sanitizing Products Safe and Effective?"

Anchorage, AK — DEC is cautioning Alaskans not to buy hand wipes for sanitizing surfaces.

"There is a significant shortage of surface sanitizing wipes, such as Clorox wipes, and we are now seeing hand wipes stocked in their place in the cleaning products aisles of retailers across the state," said Karin Hendrickson, Pesticide Program coordinator. "Hand wipes are not effective for surface sanitizing, and Alaskans need to be aware of this so that they don’t purchase the wrong product by mistake."

For surface sanitizers, such as wipes, Alaskans should look for an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number on the package. This number ensures that the product is safe, effective, and legal for people to use as a surface sanitizer.  

Before registering a product, the EPA analyzes each product’s contents and manufacturing process to ensure it will be effective. There are several things that can limit how well a product will sanitize surfaces: does it have effective ingredients? Is there enough of it to work? Has it been manufactured and packaged in a way to preserve the active ingredient?

The EPA also reviews whether the contents of a product are safe for consumers, animals, and the environment. They require safety information to protect consumers, such as the need to wear gloves or take other protective measures.

Hand sanitizers are designed to be safe to apply to the skin, and often have lower concentrations of sanitizing ingredients than surface sanitizers to prevent irritation or harm. They would not be expected to meet EPA effectiveness requirements for surface sanitation.

"Check the package for the intended use of the product and for an EPA registration number before you use it," said Hendrickson.

For more information on how to tell if the sanitizing products you have are safe and effective to use, please see: safe and effective sanitizing products. Alaskans who believe a product they have purchased or have seen for sale may not be safe or effective for use as a surface sanitizer can report this to the Pesticide Control Program at 1-800-478-2577.

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