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EPA Reports on Nanoscale Stewardship

Thursday, February 5, 2009

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its interim report on the year-old Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program. The program’s goal is to provide a firmer scientific foundation for regulatory decisions by encouraging development of risk management practices and other information on nanoscale materials.

Nanoscale materials that are either new or existing chemical substances (as determined by the status of the substance on the TSCA Chemical Substances Inventory) can be included in the program. EPA welcomes comments on the interim report and expects to issue a final report and program evaluation in early 2010.

The NMSP comprised two sub-programs: the Basic Program and the In-Depth Program.

Under the Basic Program, EPA invited participants to voluntarily report by July 29, 2008, on the engineered nanoscale materials they manufacture, import, process or use. By that date, the agency received submissions from 16 companies and trade associations covering 91 nanoscale materials.

As of Dec. 8, 2008, 29 companies or associations submitted information to EPA covering 123 nanoscale materials, and seven additional companies have outstanding commitments to the Basic Program.

EPA is evaluating the information submitted under the Basic Program through a process similar to that of a new chemical review.

Under the In-Depth Program, EPA invited participants to work on a plan to develop data on representative nanoscale materials over a longer time frame. By the six-month mark, one company had agreed to participate in the In-Depth Program; by Dec. 8, 2008, four companies had committed.

Based on the current interim results, EPA considers the NMSP successful. However, the agency notes that a number of health and safety data gaps it had hoped to fill through the NMSP still exist. EPA is considering how to best use testing and information gathering authorities under the Toxic Substances Control Act to help address those gaps.

   

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