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NADCA ACR Standard & Guidelines

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What is the position of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) regarding the use of chemicals in ductwork? NADCA does not recommend the use of chemicals within ductwork unless there is a specific need. Is sanitizing ductwork legal? NO. The EPA has not registered any products for sanitizing or disinfecting ductwork. Further, no fungicides are registered for use in ductwork. As noted earlier in this document, IT IS A VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW TO USE A PRODUCT IN A MANNER INCONSISTENT WITH ITS LABELING. For antimicrobials, this law is the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Therefore, any claims of sanitizing or disinfecting ductwork would require the use of a product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling, which is a violation of FIFRA. Violations of FIFRA can result in fines and criminal penalties from the EPA. This is a short answer. For a more comprehensive explanation of this complex issue, please refer to the "Antimicrobial Products" section of this document. What does NADCA recommend for cleaning heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems? NADCA recommends "source removal" as the best method for cleaning HVAC systems. For best results, the entire HVAC system should be cleaned, including coils, blowers, and other components of the system. These components, which are exposed to the air stream, become contaminated with dust and other unwanted materials, and should be cleaned as warranted. Readers are encouraged to review NADCA's ACR Standard for Assessment, Cleaning & Restoration of HVAC Systems, for information regarding best practices related to cleaning and restoring those systems. When is a chemical application acceptable? The application of chemicals in an air conveyance system is acceptable only when the product is legally approved for the application for which it will be used. At this time, the EPA has not accepted any disinfectant, sanitizer or fungicidal products for use in the ductwork of HVAC systems. However, some of these products are registered and accepted by the EPA for use on certain components in other parts of HVAC systems. Should the client review the MSDS and Product Label before authorizing application? Yes, that is recommended. Should occupants leave the building during chemical application? In some circumstances, it may be necessary to perform work when occupants are out of the building and to adequately ventilate the building before occupants return. With certain EPA-registered products, building evacuation is mandatory. If there is a reason to believe that the use of a product would create a hazard, information about the potential hazard must be communicated to the building occupants and/or managers. How long should the client stay out of the house or building after chemical application? Until fumes or scents are no longer at a level to produce discomfort or concern for occupants. Typically, this is 2 to 8 hours with adequate ventilation. What if the client has asthma, allergies, or chemical sensitivities? It is recommended that the client sign an informed consent agreement authorizing the use of specific chemical products and acknowledging that he or she has been informed of risks associated with their use. The client with concerns should talk to his or her doctor or other healthcare practitioners. What are the advantages to using these products? These products are designed to provide the benefits described above in the section reviewing each product. See the Pros and Cons subsections for each product. What are the risks to using these products? The risks are discussed in the MSDS and the label for each product. Are there any chemical products used in HVAC systems that can create unintended effects? Some products may have properties (such as corrosivity, off-gassing, environmental impact) that customers might see as negative or objectionable. As part of the selection process for what products you will carry or use, you should determine which, if any, candidate products are associated with any of these potential problems. The product(s) may have other positive features that will lead you to use the product in spite of these issues. However, you should be sure that your customers are aware of the facts and accept the possible risks. Frequently Asked Questions

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