June 25, 2020

NIOSH Highlights Health Hazards Associated with Disinfectants Used Against Viruses

A topic page on NIOSH’s website provides information on health hazards and protective measures for employers and workers who use cleaning products and disinfectants identified as effective against viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. NIOSH stresses that many chemical disinfectants can be harmful to workers if they are handled unsafely or improperly used. The agency urges employers and workers to select and use disinfectants properly to ensure effective disinfection, prevent harm to individuals, and avoid damage to surfaces. Considerations regarding the proper use of disinfectants include understanding potential health hazards and using recommended protective measures; following manufacturers’ instructions and product label directions for safe and effective use; using the proper concentration and application method; following the required contact time after application; and never mixing disinfectants with cleaners, other disinfectants, or other chemicals.

NIOSH’s page also includes a table that collects information about the health hazards associated with disinfectants used against viruses and suggests how workers and others can protect themselves while using the products. For each disinfectant, the table lists the chemical name and other common names for that chemical; the chemical abstract service number; Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) pictograms; health and flammability-related hazard statements; recommended glove barriers; and recommended respiratory protection.

Additional resources from OSHA and CDC as well as links to the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards, the NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods, and NIOSH’s Health Hazard Evaluation Program are also available. View the page on the NIOSH website.