Ask the Building Maintenance Experts
Solutions for Your Toughest Problems

ICAN  Q & A  Home

Friday, October 24, 2014

Question

According to the EPA, what is the difference between a pesticide and a disinfectant?


Answer

The EPA defines disinfectants as anti-microbial pesticides, whereas a common pesticide is used to control insects and rodents without regard for bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms.
The official definitions are:
disinfectant - A chemical that destroys vegetative forms of harmful microorganisms, but does not ordinarily kill bacterial spores.
pesticide - Substances intended to repel, kill, or control any species designated a "pest" including weeds, insects, rodents, fungi, bacteria, or other organisms. The family of pesticides includes herbicides, insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, and bactericides.
See www.epa.gov/pesticides/glossary/m-q.html#p
Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Associate Editor
lekrafft@juno.com