OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

September 24, 1996

Diane Krpan
Regulatory Specialist
Buckeye International, Inc.
2700 Wagner Place
Maryland Heights, Missouri 63043-3471

Dear Ms. Krpan:

Thank you for your letter of August 26, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) policy on the use of disinfectants that are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as being effective against HBV and HIV.

These disinfectant products can be used under limited circumstances provided the following conditions are met. First, HBV and HIV are the only bloodborne pathogen of concern (for instance, as in a research setting), and second, the products are used in the concentrations approved by EPA. In addition, the product may be approved to disinfect only certain contaminated surfaces (such as solid versus carpet) so additional instructions on the label must be followed.

The rationale for requiring tuberculocidal agents is not based on the desire to control Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but rather to ensure the disinfectant is effective against a host of bloodborne pathogens. Therefore, when bloodborne pathogens other than HBV or HIV are of a concern OSHA continues to require the use of EPA registered tuberculocidal disinfectants.

We appreciate your support for safety and health in the workplace. If you have further questions pertaining to this matter, please contact Wanda Bissell of my staff at (202) 219-8036 Ext. 45.


Ruth McCully, Director
Office of Health Compliance Assistance