Understanding Antimicrobials & Biocides

You recently had a water loss in your home and you hired a restoration company to preform the structural drying process.  But do you fully understand the chemicals they may be using in your home?  In this blog, we’ll try to give you a quick overview of Antimicrobials and Biocides, so you can more informed about the process and make you better prepared to hire the proper contractor. 

It is critical to first understand the terminology, technology and chemistry behind the individual product.  The EPA has defined three levels of Biocidal activity:

     Sanitizer:  A cleaning or disinfecting treatment designed to reduce the number of pathogenic microorganisms to a safe level.  This is the lowest level of Biocidal activity.

    Disinfectant:  A solutions designed to destroy or inhibit the growth of microorganisms, but not necessarily their spores.

    Sterilizer:  A product designed to destroy all microorganisms, (fungi, bacteria, viruses, etc.), and their spores.

Your contractor must understand what materials the product will treat effectively and what health and safety risks they present, and to do so they must become extremely familiar to the products label.  The use of a biocidal agent may or may not be advisable, so comprehending the product as well as the situation of when it is to be used is vital. 

Whenever a chemical antimicrobial or biocide is used, restorers must follow the label directions explicitly.  Any product which is labeled an antimicrobial will have an EPA registration number and an approved EPA label.  It is a federal violation of law to use these products in a way that is inconsistent with their labeling. 

When using a biocide, it is important that you are aware of such prior to it’s use.  Most antimicrobials require that the area of application be vacated by occupants and pets during application and for a period of time after application.  Your restorer should make you aware of the product that will used, why it is being used, and how long the structure must be vacated.  If your restorer provides you with a consent form to sign for documenting this procedure, just know that they are following proper protocol to the highest degree.  You can also request MSDS, (Material Safety Data Sheets), on all products being used. 

Understanding the procedure and products used can be extremely helpful when hiring a restorer and also helpful when the process begins to make sure everything is following the required protocol.  Being aware of the chemicals that are used will also be helpful if anyone in your home may be sensitive to some of the ingredients.  For more information, visit our website at http://biowashing.com

About the author: Joe Fiorilli