Glossary

Antibacterial – substances that kill or slow the growth of bacteria on human and environmental surfaces, including those that aid in proper hygiene.

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Antimicrobial – a general term used to describe substances that kill or slow the growth of microbes.

Bacteria – microorganisms that are found on our skin, in our digestive tract, in the air, and in the soil. Most are harmless (nonpathogenic).

Disinfectant – used to destroy or irreversibly inactivate certain microorganisms, viruses, and infectious fungi and bacteria, but not necessarily their spores.

Disinfection – a process that is used to reduce the number of viable microorganisms on a surface but that may not necessarily inactivate all microbial agents (e.g., spores)

Fungi – microbes that feed on living organisms or dead organic material. Examples are yeasts, molds, and mushrooms.

Microbe – a collective name for microscopic organisms including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and some parasites

Sanitizer – used to reduce, but not necessarily eliminate, microorganisms from the inanimate environment to levels considered safe, as determined by public health codes or regulations.

Virus – Microorganisms that are smaller than bacteria and cannot grow or reproduce apart from a living cell. Virus infections may be spread by way of the air, by contact with surfaces, and the exchange of bodily fluids.