The EPA rules that apply to antimicrobial products vary by type. Antimicrobial product types include bacteristats, fungistats, disinfectants, virucides, fungicides, antimicrobial devices, and treated articles. Of those groups, one of the most broad, innovative, and commercially active is antimicrobial devices, which are also known as antimicrobial pesticidal devices.
The antimicrobial device category is quite broad. All of the following fit into EPA's antimicrobial device category:
- Germicidal ultraviolet (UV) lamps
- Water electrolyzers, such as those that turn ordinary salt to bleach
- Ozone producing devices
- Air filters/ionizers
- Physical microorganism removal systems (e.g., microfiber cloths)
Some antimicrobial devices trap microorganisms, while others kill microorganisms using physical means. Some devices create active ingredients similar to chemical disinfectants, such as ozone gas. Perhaps because of the breadth of the product category, EPA recently published a consumer guide to pesticide devices.
The antimicrobial device category has experienced rapid growth and consumer adoption within the last decade, led by ultraviolet whole-room disinfection systems and on-site chlorine generators, as well as household widgets such as toothbrush sanitizers. Examples of a UV disinfection system and an on-site chlorine generator are presented below.