Last week NAAA reported on several media stories about aerial applications of disinfectants to treat outdoor areas potentially contaminated by the COVID-19 virus. Based on these reports, NAAA discussed this possibility with the FAA and the EPA. The FAA indicated that a part 137 operating certificate would be required for any operation, using manned aircraft or UAS, conducting outdoor applications of disinfectants.
The trouble, NAAA discovered after meetings with top officials at EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs is that there are no products that are currently labeled for outdoor use against the COVID-19 virus. EPA has provided NAAA a database that lists all of the products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against the COVID-19 virus. Again, NAAA was informed by the EPA that every product on this list was intended for indoor use only, and that an outdoor application, by any method, of any of the disinfectants on the list would be an off-label application and thus illegal. Furthermore, use of a product outdoors that is not on the list but contains a similar active ingredient (i.e. hydrogen peroxide) would also be illegal; that would be considered use of an unregistered product.
The EPA also informed NAAA that the CDC does not recommend making outdoor applications of disinfectants in an attempt to control the COVID-19 virus. Ultraviolet exposure from sunlight is considered sufficient for destroying outdoor viruses, according to the CDC.