US offers industry voluntary submission of nanotechnology risks

1 February 2008

Industry, non-governmental organizations and other groups in the US can voluntarily submit safety data on engineered nanoscale materials under the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plan for the Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

“This program will help strengthen the scientific understanding of nanoscale materials and allow the EPA to more quickly assemble the information needed to ensure appropriate oversight of the products of this promising technology,” said Jim Gulliford, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. “Participation in this program can help assure the responsible development, use, and acceptance of these materials in the marketplace.”

The program calls on manufacturers, importers, processors, and users of engineered nanoscale materials to report to EPA key information about these materials within six months. The agency will evaluate the information to help ensure the safe manufacture and use of these nanoscale materials.

The EPA will also work with manufacturers, importers, processors and users of nanoscale materials to develop test data to provide a scientific basis for assessing the hazards, exposures, and risks of nanoscale materials. The NMSP will complement and support EPA's new and existing chemical programs under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

According to Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) Director David Rejeski, "The information obtained under the stewardship program could help government officials develop a better understanding of the risks and benefits posed by the novel materials, but this voluntary program provides virtually no incentives for industry participation."

According to former EPA official and PEN senior advisor J. Clarence Davies, "Starting the stewardship program is a positive step toward filling in some of the information gaps facing the agency. But there should be an interplay between modifying TSCA, such as promulgating a significant new use rule for nanomaterials, and the voluntary program."

Further information

Information on the Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program (NMSP):

Nanotechnology under the Toxic Substances Control Act:

The Project on Emerging Technologies

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