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Antimicrobial Testing Program

Current as of August 2014

This Web page describes EPA's Antimicrobial Testing Program, lists products that have been tested and summarizes program results.

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Program Overview

The EPA's Antimicrobial Testing Program ensures that EPA-approved hospital sterilants, disinfectants and tuberculocides in the marketplace continue to meet stringent efficacy standards. Under the ATP, the agency collects and tests samples of EPA-registered products from manufacturers, distributors and sellers of hospital sterilants, disinfectants and tuberculocides. The ATPís efficacy test methods provide a rigorous challenge to the product, as the level of bacteria used in the tests are at least 1,000 times greater than the contamination level typically found on surfaces in health care facilities. The EPA adopted this high standard to ensure that products will be effective even when extremely high pathogen levels are present.

Hospital sterilants, disinfectants and tuberculocides that do not meet the ATP standard are brought into compliance through regulatory or enforcement measures.

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Testing Results

The List of ATP-tested Hospital Sterilants, Disinfectants and Tuberculocides (PDF) (21 pp, 287Kb) includes all products that have been tested in the program. Note that disinfectant products with public health claims must be effective against both Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa to meet agency registration efficacy standards for use as a hospital disinfectant. In addition, hospital disinfectants that have tuberculocidal claims must be effective against Mycobacterium bovis  BCG.

Instructions to registrants for submitting product samples for testing.

Questions about the testing results? Contact John Cowden (703-347-0259 or cowden.johnC@epa.gov ).

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What if a Product Fails?

If a product does not meet post-registration efficacy standards under the ATP, the EPA will determine the appropriate action to be taken. Options used individually or in combination to bring the product into compliance include:

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What Products are Tested?

The ATP tests registered hospital disinfectants, products for use in dialysis facilities and tuberculocides. At the time of registration, the registrant of each primary product must provide product efficacy data that supports tens and sometimes hundreds of "supplemental distributor" products. Supplemental distributor products may be tested, however, these distributor products are represented by the primary registration number on the ATP list. Distributor products frequently use different brand names, but the EPA Registration Number (Reg. No.) of a product is more useful than its brand name for identifying the primary EPA-registered product.

You can identify distributor products by their three-part EPA Reg. No. The first two parts of the EPA Reg. No. identify the company number assigned to the primary EPA registered product and the product number. A third set of numbers represents the Distributor ID number. For example, EPA Reg. No. 12345-12-2567 is a distributor product for the primary product with EPA Reg. No. 12345-12.

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ATP Test Methods & Procedures

The ATP test methods and procedures are based on standards maintained and published by the Association of Analytical Chemists International, a standard-setting organization. The challenge microorganisms used to determine the effectiveness of hospital disinfectants are Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and for tuberculocides, Mycobacterium bovis BCG. Read more about EPA's standard operating procedures for ATP testing.

The agency will be using the revised (2013) performance standard for the AOAC Use-dilution Methods (PDF) (3 pp, 105 k, About PDF) for Staphylococcus aureus (955.15) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (964.02). 

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