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Posted: January 13, 2009
EPA releases nanotechnology NMSP interim report
(Nanowerk News) On January 12, 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. released its interim report on the Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program (NMSP).
The Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program (NMSP) was developed to help provide a firmer scientific foundation for regulatory decisions by encouraging submission and development of information for nanoscale materials. The NMSP comprised two sub-programs, the Basic Program and the In-Depth Program. When the NMSP was initiated, EPA committed to issue this interim report after one year. The Agency welcomes comments on this interim report EPA will issue a more detailed final report and program evaluation at the conclusion of the NMSP in early 2010.
Under the Basic Program, EPA invited participants to voluntarily report available information 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 different nanoscale materials. As of December 8, 2008, twenty-nine companies or associations submitted information to EPA covering 123 nanoscale materials and a further seven companies have outstanding commitments to the Basic Program. EPA also invited participants to submit new data that became available for nanoscale materials already reported or to identify additional nanoscale materials to report under 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 with the Agency and others on a plan for the development of data on representative nanoscale materials over a longer time frame. By the 6-month mark, one company had agreed to participate in the In-Depth Program; by December 8, 2008, 4 companies have agreed to participate.
Based on the current interim results, the NMSP can be considered successful. However, a number of the environmental health and safety data gaps the Agency 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.
EPA will continue to review new chemical nanoscale materials submitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act sections 5(a) and 5(h)(4) and apply, as appropriate, testing requirements and exposure controls under section 5(e) and Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) under section 5(a)(2).
EPA continues to welcome new participants and information submissions for the NMSP, which will continue until January 2010. The Agency will also continue to explore the best ways to gather the information needed to provide a firmer scientific foundation for regulatory decisions on nanoscale materials.
The EPA maintains a website – Nanotechnology under the Toxic Substances Control Act – with numerous resources and links about nanotechnology safety issues.