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The importance of EPA Labels

As a responsible member of the dental industry ask yourself this question, when was the last time you read the EPA label for your DUWL (Dental Unit Water Line) disinfection products? I’m willing to bet not often enough. The correct use of any product is important, especially when it comes to DUWL products. The safety of your patients depends on it.

Read that label

Often people are confused and misdirected in the proper use of products used for dental waterline treatments. The EPA label serves as the directions and instructions of how to use the product correctly.  If you read any EPA label you will always see the same “DIRECTIONS FOR USE” on the label, followed by “IT IS A VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW TO USE THIS PRODUCT IN A MANNER INCONSISTENT WITH ITS LABELING.” The EPA does not mince words. Now that begs the question, are you following the directions per the EPA label with your DUWL protocols? If you’re not, how effective do you think your protocols are?


A tool for evaluation

Directions aside, the EPA label can also serve as an evaluation metric for comparing the effectiveness of different products. The quantified claims contained in the label layout the claims of effectiveness that have been verified by the EPA as an objective 3rd party. Comparing apples to apples, quantified claims are a clear way to determine the best product for your needs. If the success or failure of a system is dependent on multiple steps being followed to achieve that quantified claim, then it would seem logical that a simpler protocol will be consistently more effective than one that is more complicated. The most effective protocols are those that can be counted on to be consistently effective.


Common mistakes

There are also many instances in which practices that are “common” in dental offices, such as purging or flushing the lines at the end of the night are followed for one reason or another. At one point in time this was a standard practice recommended by the CDC. However, when this recommendation was issued there were limited EPA registered DUWL treatments on the market. It is important to remember that the instructions on the EPA label have been recognized as the most effective use of that product. EPA quantified claims are based on these protocols and measures outlined on the label. Going off label may work counter to the research and development that goes into a product. Another common overlook, all dental waterline maintenance products require a Shock treatment for optimum control of bacteria. Without the shock you are missing an important step in the protocol.

Moral of the story, most offices would like to be compliant with their DUWLs. If you’re not sure about a protocol, contact your Dental Water Compliance Specialist for answers. It’s well worth it. He/she can specifically address the needs of your office and make sure you are compliant.