On March 10, 2010, Member of Parliament Peter Julian (NDP) tabled legislation (Bill C-494) in the House of Commons that would amend the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA) to implement procedures for the investigation and assessment of nanomaterials. The bill includes provisions concerning adding nanomaterials to the Domestic Substances List (DSL), notification of significant new activity, risk assessment procedures, and would establish a public inventory of nanotechnology and nanomaterials in Canada. According to the New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP), the proposed amendments “will help implement a national strategy to guide the development of nanotechnology.”
On July 28, 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clarified its June 24, 2009, final Significant New Use Rules (SNUR) for multi- and single-walled carbon nanotubes (CNT). According to EPA, upon review of the final rule, stakeholders asked whether the SNURs applied to all types of CNTs. EPA responded:
This is not the case. These SNURs only apply to the specific carbon nanotubes that were the subject of the premanufacture notices (PMN) submitted under Section 5 of TSCA and not to any other carbon nanotubes. Other carbon nanotubes must be notified through EPA's New Chemicals Program. The U.S. EPA strongly encourages all manufacturers and importers of nanoscale materials that are intended for commercial use to consult with the Agency in advance of production or importation.
On July 8, 2009, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) announced the availability of an article entitled Nanotechnology and In situ Remediation: A review of the benefits and potential risks, which discusses the use of nanomaterials in the environmental cleanup process. According to the article, nanomaterials have the potential to reduce the costs and time of cleaning up contaminated sites, as well as eliminate the need for treatment and removal of contaminated soil in the cleanup process. The article cautions that full evaluation of the possible cleanup techniques should be undertaken to mitigate all potential adverse environmental effects. EHP-in-Press articles have been peer reviewed and accepted for publication in Environmental Health Perspectives.
EPA Announces Joint Research Partnership with UK Agencies Regarding the Behavior and Effects of Nanomaterials in the Environment
On December 29, 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is in the process of finalizing a major joint research effort with a number of United Kingdom (UK) agencies that is intended to develop and validate predictive tools and similar conceptual models that predict exposure, bioavailability, and effects of manufactured nanomaterials in the environment. The UK agencies include the Natural Environment Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, and Environment Agency. According to EPA, the research partnership will include a joint call issued by all organizations involved and will incorporate a common review and evaluation process. EPA states: “The intent is to form consortia of both UK and US investigators using combined but independent national funding arrangements.” EPA expects the solicitations to be issued in February 2009.
On September 18, 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that, to ensure nanotechnology is developed in a responsible manner, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and EPA awarded $38 million to establish two Centers for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEIN). EPA contributed $5 million to the overall award, which is the largest award for nanotechnology research in its history. The CEINs will conduct research on the possible environmental, health, and safety impacts of nanomaterials, using very different approaches than previous studies. Led by the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and Duke University, the CEINs will study how nanomaterials interact with the environment and human health, and are intended to result in better risk assessment and mitigation strategies to be used in the commercial development of nanotechnology. Each CEIN will work as a network, connected to multiple research organizations, industry, and government agencies, and will emphasize interdisciplinary research and education.Continue Reading...
In its latest Background Paper, entitled Mounting Evidence That Carbon Nanotubes May Be the New Asbestos, Friends of the Earth Australia (FOEA) is calling “for an immediate moratorium on the commercial use of carbon nanotubes and the sale of products that incorporate nanotubes until research can demonstrate whether or not there is any safe level of exposure to them.” FOEA also is calling for new nanotechnology-specific regulation to protect human health and the environment, as well as for mandatory labeling of all nanoscale materials used in the workplace and in consumer products.Continue Reading...
The August 2008 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives includes an article entitled “Nano-Food Chain Link Examined,” which reports on recent research by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) regarding whether nanomaterials biomagnify in the food chain. NIST reports that certain nanomaterials may not accumulate in the food chain, but notes that additional research is necessary before any generalizations can be made regarding environmental and human safety of nanomaterials.
GAO Testifies Before Senate Subcommittee on the Accuracy of Data Concerning Federally Funded EHS Research
On March 11, 2008, the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) released a report entitled Responsible Production and Use of Nanomaterials, which is a series of documents intended to provide guidance on all aspects of a good product stewardship on nanomaterials. The documents include joint papers prepared by VCI and the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) and the German Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (DECHEMA). The report includes the following documents:
- Implementing Responsible Care® for a Responsible Production and Use of Nanomaterials
- Requirements of the REACH Regulation on Substances Which Are Manufactured or Imported also as Nanomaterials
- Guidance for a Tiered Gathering of Hazard Information for the Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials
- Guidance for Handling and Use of Nanomaterials at the Workplace
- Guidance for the Passing on of Information along the Supply Chain in the Handling of Nanomaterials via Safety Data Sheets
- Strategy Paper of the German Chemical Industry on the Standardization of Nanomaterials
Documents on Safety Research:
- Roadmap for Safety Research on Nanomaterials
- Environmental Aspects of Nanoparticles
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. is pleased to announce that Lynn L. Bergeson and Ira Dassa published an article appearing in the Fall 2007 issue of Sustainable Development Law and Policy. The article discusses several issues in connection with the application of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to engineered nanoscale materials.
Bush Administration Releases Principles for Nanotechnology Environmental, Health, and Safety Oversight
House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Relationship Between Environmental and Health Policy and Nanotechnology
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars hosted on October 9, 2007, a seminar on the Responsible NanoCode, a voluntary, principles-based Code of Conduct for entities involved in the research, development, manufacture, and retail sale of products using nanotechnologies. The draft Code was developed by a working group organized in late 2006 by The Royal Society, the United Kingdom’s (UK) national academy of science, in conjunction with Insight Investment, the Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA), and the UK government-sponsored Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network.
The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (CDTSC) will hold a symposium entitled “Nanotechnology Symposium II: Potential Hazards of Nanomaterials in the Environment” on October 3, 2007. The draft agenda includes the following topics:
- Chemical Properties and Commercial/Industrial Applications of Nanotechnology;
- Physico-Chemical Characterization of Nanoparticles and Its Relation to Their Bio-Interactions;
- Potential Ecotoxicity of Nanoparticles Released to the Environment;
- Nanomaterial Human Health Risks and Risk Assessment; and
- One Proactive Approach to Responsible Nanotechnology Development: The DuPont -- Environmental Defense NanoRisk Framework.
On August 1, 2007, the Nanoethics Group announced the release of a collection of papers entitled Nanoethics: The Ethical and Social Implications of Nanotechnology, which addresses issues related to nanotechnology’s impact on society. The anthology includes papers from nearly 40 experts worldwide and includes topics related to benefits, risk, environment, health, human enhancement, privacy, military, democracy, education, humanitarianism, molecular manufacturing, space exploration, artificial intelligence, life extension, and more.