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Avoid Air Duct Sanitizer, Deodorizer and Antimicrobial Use

"Sanitizing" Ducts Can Cause Serious Health Concerns

In response to the pesticide industry's growing concern over the use of sanitizer in air duct cleanings, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a study on the efficacy of its utilization. They found that sanitizing ducts can cause serious health concerns and do not approve of its application within HVAC systems.

Unfortunately, there are many companies that still try to utilize sanitizer as a selling point or, worse yet, an actual service. They often make sweeping health claims, maintaining that they are capable of removing mold, mildew, bacterial growth, etc.

The truth is that these growths do not grow on sheet metal, so any charge for sanitizing services is unnecessary and false. They grow in organic material, which would be the dirt and debris within your system.

As a NADCA certified cleaner, we are going to remove this material from your ductwork and use a before-and-after video inspection to prove it. 

Do I Need Sanitizer/Deodorizer applied with my service?

Absolutely not! There are many air duct cleaning companies in the Chicagoland area that offer this very service. According to a study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sanitizer is not necessary to the cleaning of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.

Mold, mildew, and bacterial growth can only thrive on organic material. The only organic material within your vents is the dirt and debris, which any reputable duct cleaner will be removing through the duct cleaning service. The EPA also discourages homeowners for using sanitizers or deodorizers in their vents because of chemical inhalation risks. Though many sanitizer advertisements claim that the sanitizer used has been registered by the EPA, the fact is that the EPA has not registered any sanitizers for use in the HVAC system.

View the full results of the EPA’s study:

The EPA's Concerns With Sanitizer Use

“EPA concerns include (1) the potential human exposure and health risks to applicators and building occupants from the use of these products have not been assessed for this use; (2) no data have been submitted or reviewed to demonstrate that products not specifically registered for HVAC&R use are efficacious when used in HVAC&R systems; and (3) these products were not specifically approved for this use at the time of registration."

  1. The potential human exposure has not been assessed for HVAC Use
    According to the EPA’s study, “the labeling of registered disinfectant, sanitizer, and other antimicrobial products … are intended for use on hard, non-porous surfaces.” The term “hard, non-porous surfaces” refers to surfaces that are rigid, solid, and do not contain pores through which substances such as fluids or light may pass. Many HVAC system components are not made of hard, non-porous materials, so the EPA recommends that sanitizers not be used within the ductwork.

    EPA has “no data to demonstrate how a liquid product could be adequately applied to all surfaces within an established ductwork system and remain on those surfaces for an effective contact time necessary for antimicrobial activity.” Therefore, claims to effectiveness over a length of time are also false advertising.

  2. There is no data that the application of sanitizer is effective
    Quite simply, the EPA has not found any truth to the claims of reduced bacterial growths that many sanitizing firms claim. Additionally, they are concerned that “the application of an antimicrobial product to an HVAC&R system usually requires larger volumes of the antimicrobial to be applied to both internal and external components that are… typically inaccessible and could create unique exposure scenarios.”

    The EPA has accumulated “data and other information [that] suggest exposure to airborne pesticides not approved for use in HVAC&R systems may cause health effects as detrimental or worse than the health effects caused by the exposure to the biocontaminants that the pesticides are intended to control.”

  3. Sanitizers were not specifically approved for this use at the time of registration
    Many of the products advertised as “EPA Registered” were not registered for HVAC&R systems at the time of their review. Because of this, the EPA does not recommend their use within the duct work.

Further Research & Source Documents

Source Document:
EPA's Pesticide Registration Division's "Use of Antimicrobial Pesticide Products in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Systems":

Further Research:
EPA's Office of Air Radiation's "Building Air Quality for Building Managers":


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