On May 14, 2012, the agencies participating in the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) announced the fourth Nanotechnology Signature Initiative, “Nanotechnology Knowledge Infrastructure:  Enabling National Leadership in Sustainable Design” (NKI). According to a press release issued by the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO), this signature initiative will stimulate the development of models, simulation tools, and

On May 1, 2012, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) entitled “Promoting International Regulatory Cooperation,” which is intended to ensure that differing regulatory approaches taken by foreign governments do not unnecessarily limit the ability of American businesses to export and compete internationally. EO 13563, which Obama signed on January 18, 2011, states that the U.S. regulatory system must protect public health, welfare, safety, and the environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation. The May 1, 2012, EO calls for the Regulatory Working Group established by Executive Order 12866, and reaffirmed by EO 13563, to serve as a forum to discuss, coordinate, and develop a common understanding among agencies of U.S. government positions and priorities with respect to: international regulatory cooperation activities that are reasonably anticipated to lead to significant regulatory actions; efforts across the federal government to support significant, cross-cutting international regulatory cooperation activities; and promotion of good regulatory practices internationally, as well as the promotion of U.S. regulatory approaches, as appropriate.


Continue Reading

On March 20, 2012, the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) announced the appointment of Dr. Robert Pohanka as the Director of the NNCO. The NNCO provides technical and administrative support to the Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee, serves as a central point of contact for federal nanotechnology research and development activities, and provides public

On December 30, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report entitled EPA Needs to Manage Nanomaterial Risks More Effectively. According to OIG, the purpose of its review was to determine how effectively EPA is managing the human health and environmental risks of nanomaterials. OIG states that it found “that EPA does not currently have sufficient information or processes to effectively manage the human health and environmental risks of nanomaterials.” According to OIG, although EPA has the statutory authority to regulate nanomaterials, it “currently lacks the environmental and human health exposure and toxicological data to do so effectively.” EPA proposed a policy, under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), that would identify new pesticides being registered with nanoscale materials.  After “minimal industry participation” in EPA’s Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program (NMSP), a voluntary data collection program, EPA has chosen to propose mandatory reporting rules for nanomaterials under FIFRA, and is developing proposed rules under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).


Continue Reading

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has posted comments received on its July 29, 2011, revised proposed regulation concerning the specification of hazard traits, environmental and toxicological endpoints, and other relevant data that are to be included in California’s Toxics Information Clearinghouse.  The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) will use information

Representative Mike Honda (D-CA) re-introduced on August 1, 2011, the Nanotechnology Advancement and New Opportunities Act (NANO Act), which seeks to promote the development and responsible stewardship of nanotechnology in the U.S. According to Rep. Honda, the legislation is designed to maintain the U.S.’s leadership role in nanotechnology research by promoting the development and commercialization of

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced on July 29, 2011, that it revised its proposed regulation concerning the specification of hazard traits, environmental and toxicological end-points, and other relevant data that are to be included in California’s Toxics Information Clearinghouse.  The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) will use information from the Clearinghouse to help identify chemicals of concern in consumer products as part of its Green Chemistry Program. Comments are due September 12, 2011.


Continue Reading

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) July 7, 2011, Regulatory Agenda includes several notices concerning nanoscale materials:

  • Test Rule for Certain Nanoscale Materials — EPA states that it is developing a test rule under Section 4(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to require manufacturers (defined by statute to include importers) and processors of

On June 9, 2011, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced that the White House Emerging Technologies Interagency Policy Coordination Committee (ETIPC) has developed a set of principles specific to the regulation and oversight of applications of nanotechnology. The principles are intended to guide the development and implementation of policies, as described in the

Last week, the University of California, San Francisco’s (UCSF) Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment announced the publication of its “Recommendations for Addressing Potential Health Risks from Nanomaterials in California,” which provides recommendations for addressing potential health risks from nanomaterials to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and to the state of California.  OEHHA contracted with UCSF to prepare the report, which provides an overview of nanotechnology materials, potential exposures, and human-health risks, and recommendations for addressing potential health hazards and risks from nanotechnology. Recommendations include those that can be implemented under the existing regulatory structure of OEHHA, such as establishing a publicly accessible clearinghouse and inventory of nanomaterial sources and products. The report also includes recommendations that are outside the scope of OEHHA, many of which may require legislative changes, such as requiring testing of release and exposure potential for nanomaterials in existing and new consumer products, and implementing a labeling system that requires labeling of products that contain nanomaterials.  According to UCSF, the recommendations primarily focus on requiring information on potential exposures and health hazards for nanomaterials used in the marketplace.


Continue Reading