US EPA announced that it will not make updates or changes to the WaterSense® program specifications, another successful step in IAPMO and its partners’ mission to ensure the program’s long-term viability. The announcement followed a review as directed by America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, which includes strong language officially authorizing the program in perpetuity. The law required the agency to “consider for review and revise, if necessary, any WaterSense performance criteria adopted before January 1, 2012.” US EPA also announced it will engage with WaterSense stakeholders and the public to ensure that WaterSense products continue to help protect the nation’s water supplies while saving consumers money and performing as well as or better than regular models.
A true public-private partnership, WaterSense is a voluntary product efficiency labeling program that identifies efficient and high-performing water-consuming products. While US EPA spends approximately $3 million a year to administer the program, it has saved consumers more than $33 billion in water and energy bills since the program’s inception in 2006. The program is widely supported across the building industry and has enjoyed bipartisan support on Capitol Hill throughout its existence. This support is not only due to the program’s successful outcomes, but also because of the quality and integrity of the products bearing the WaterSense label, which are the result of federal government oversight and third-party certification.
Modeled after the ENERGY STAR program, WaterSense seeks to protect the future of the US water supply by offering consumers a simple way to make product-purchasing choices that conserve water with no sacrifice to quality or performance. Services and products earning the WaterSense label have been certified as more efficient while performing just as well as average products in the same category. Such products include toilets, urinals, showerheads, bathroom faucets, landscape irrigation controllers and pre-rinse spray valves. For more information about the WaterSense program, visit https://www.epa.gov/watersense.
Administrator Wheeler Talks About Fraudulent Claims
On April 3, Administrator Andrew Wheeler hosted an interactive telephone call with US retailers and third-party marketplace platforms to discuss imposter disinfectant products and those that falsely claim to be effective against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19. Through tips, complaints, and research, the agency is learning of the availability of such products marketed with unsubstantiated and potentially dangerous claims of protection against the coronavirus and has enlisted the help of the retail community to prevent these products from coming to market.
Based on tips, complaints, and research, the agency has identified products that have not gone through EPA’s robust registration process under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and are not legal for sale in the United States. These unregistered, illegal products are touting anti-viral, antibacterial, disinfectant, sterilizing, or sanitizing properties. US EPA registration is an important process that ensures products work as claimed and users are provided directions that, when followed, achieve the intended functions, e.g., disinfection, while preventing unreasonable adverse health and environmental consequences.
US EPA only registers disinfectants that can be used effectively against the novel coronavirus on surfaces. Non-registered products may not effectively eliminate the virus or reduce the spread of the virus and could even be harmful to consumers’ health. Consumers should refer to List N for US EPA-registered disinfectants that the agency has determined to be safe and effective against the novel coronavirus.
Also discussed on the call were US EPA’s efforts to work with retailers and third-party marketplaces to ensure that only safe, effective and approved disinfectant products are available for sale to the US public. US EPA is also coordinating with the US Department of Justice and other federal partners to bring the full force of the law against those selling fraudulent or unregistered products.
US EPA typically enforces FIFRA through stop-sale orders and penalty actions authorized under the Act. The agency cannot comment on any ongoing investigations but is providing the information below to ensure that Americans have as much information as possible to help them protect themselves from COVID-19. Additional information is available at www.epa.gov/coronavirus.