U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

On January 26, 2012, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concerning its conditional registration of a pesticide product containing nanosilver as a new active ingredient for use as a preservative for textiles.  NRDC states that

On January 25, 2012, the National Research Council (NRC) posted the pre-publication version of its report entitled A Research Strategy for Environmental, Health, and Safety Aspects of Engineered Nanomaterials. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked NRC to perform an independent study to develop and monitor the implementation of an integrated research strategy to address the environmental, health, and safety (EHS) aspects of engineered nanomaterials (ENM). NRC convened the Committee to Develop a Research Strategy for Environmental, Health, and Safety Aspects of Engineered Nanomaterials, which concluded that there is need for a research strategy that is independent of any one stakeholder group, has human and environmental health as its primary focus, builds on past efforts, and is flexible in anticipating and adjusting to emerging challenges.


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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).


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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published on December 28, 2011, proposed significant new use rules (SNUR) for 17 chemical substances that were the subject of premanufacture notices (PMN). Of particular interest, seven of the PMN substances’ reported chemical names include the term “carbon nanotube” (CNT) or “CNT.”  EPA states that because of a lack of established nomenclature for CNTs, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Inventory names for CNTs are currently in generic form, e.g., “carbon nanotube (CNT), multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT), double-walled carbon nanotube (DWCNT), or single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT).” EPA uses the specific structural characteristics provided by the PMN submitter to characterize more specifically the TSCA Inventory listing for an individual CNT. According to EPA, all submitters of new chemical notices for CNTs have claimed those specific structural characteristics as confidential business information (CBI). The proposed rule includes the generic chemical name along with the PMN number to identify that a distinct chemical substance was the subject of the PMN without revealing the confidential chemical identity of the PMN substance. Comments are due January 27, 2012.


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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on December 1, 2011, that it is conditionally registering a pesticide product containing nanosilver as a new active ingredient. HeiQ AGS-20 is a silver-based antimicrobial pesticide product approved for use as a preservative for textiles.  The final registration is not yet in the docket.  We believe, but cannot confirm, the final registration is largely similar to the draft proposed registration issued last year. As members of the nano community know well, this is very good news and demonstrates that EPA is prepared to make regulatory decisions involving nanotechnology, even where, as here, they are likely to inspire controversy.


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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in an October 26, 2011, Federal Register notice its final 2010 Effluent Guidelines Program Plan, which includes a request for comment and information for its 2011 annual reviews. EPA requests information on a number of topics, including discharges of nanosilver from industrial manufacturing. EPA cites nanosilver’s use as an active pesticide ingredient, an antimicrobial in fabric; a preservative in textile products, and coating in drums in washing machines. EPA states that, since many of these uses have the potential to create a source of silver in wastewater discharges, it “is interested in gathering as much information as possible on the fate, transport and effects of nanosilver on the aquatic environment and human health.” Comments on EPA’s 2011 reviews are due November 25, 2011.


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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted a September 2011 guidance document entitled Guidance to Facilitate Decisions for Sustainable Nanotechnology, which was prepared by the National Risk Management Research Laboratory of the Office of Research and Development. EPA states that it developed the guidance to assist in assessing the sustainability of nanoproducts, and it is

On September 22, 2011, during a meeting of nano interests in Washington, D.C., the following people spoke:

  • Jeffrey Weiss, Senior Director, Technical Barriers to Trade, Office of the United States Trade Representative, “U.S. Trade Policy and Nanotechnology”;
  • Richard A. Canady, Ph.D., Director, Center for Human Health Risk Assessment Research Foundation, International Life Sciences

The Silver Nanotechnology Working Group (SNWG) recently prepared a statement concerning nanosilver and its long history of safe and regulated use. SNWG notes the similarities between nanosilver and other antimicrobial silver materials available in the marketplace.  SNWG states that it “has interacted with the [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)] in challenged exchanges on how best

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