Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nano Nano - Europe Yesterday, US Today

Yesterday I noted that the UK issued a report arguing that there was an almost total lack of exposure data for carbon nanotubes (CNT) present in consumer products. Earlier in the year the EU issued a report from the "FramingNano project" that called for the establishment of a nanotechnology governance platform that would both provide technical advise and help make decisions on appropriate actions moving forward. And now last week the US got into the nanotechnology act with a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) called "Nanomaterials Are Widely Used in Commerce, But EPA Faces Challenges in Regulating Risks."

The report made the following recommendations for executive action. First, they recommended that the EPA:

• Complete its plan to issue a Significant New Use rule for nanomaterials.

• Modify FIFRA pesticide registration guidelines to require applicants to identify nanomaterial ingredients in pesticides.

• Complete its plan to clarify that nanoscale ingredients in already registered pesticides, as well as in those products for which registration is being sought, are to be reported to EPA and that EPA will consider nanoscale ingredients to be new.

In addition, the report recommended that EPA should make greater use of the agency’s authorities to gather information under existing environmental statutes. Specifically, according to the GAO, EPA should:

• complete its plan to use data gathering and testing authorities under TSCA to gather information on nanomaterials, including production volumes, methods of manufacture and processing, exposure and release, as well as available health and safety studies; and

• use information-gathering provisions of the Clean Water Act to collect information about potential discharges containing nanomaterials.

Finally, the GAO recommended that EPA consider revising the Inventory Update Rule under TSCA so that it will capture information on the production and use of nanomaterials and so that the agency will receive periodic updates on this material.

The full GAO report can be read in PDF format here.

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