EPA Conditionally Registers Nanosilver Pesticide and NRDC Files Blocking Lawsuit


EPA’s Conditional Registration

On December 1, 2011, EPA announced that it was conditionally registering a pesticide product containing nanosilver as a new active ingredient. The antimicrobial pesticide product, HeiQ AGS-20, is a silver-based product for use as a preservative for textiles. As a condition of registration, EPA stated that it would require additional data on the product to confirm EPA’s assessment that the product will not cause unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment, the general standard for a registration under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

By way of background, on August 12, 2010, EPA posted a Proposed Conditional Registration to the docket for public comment. EPA received 45 public comments, and responses to these comments along with the decision document to conditionally register the product can be found at www.regulations.gov in Docket ID # EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-1012. A description of the additional studies and timeline when the data must be submitted is also available in the docket.

NRDC’s Lawsuit

In response to the conditional registration, on January 26, 2012, the Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, challenging EPA’s decision.  NRDC asserts that there is a lack of data concerning the human health and environmental effects of nanosilver.  The lawsuit seeks to limit public exposure to the nanosilver that EPA registered for use in clothing, baby blankets, and many other textiles.

Verdant will soon post a copy of the NRDC’s legal documents.  Check back soon for these documents and for further commentary on this important development for the nanotechnology community.

California DTSC Releases Public Comments on Informal Draft Green Chemistry Regulations

Green Chemistry Regulations:

The public comment for the latest informal draft version of California’s “Safer Consumer Product Regulations” closed on December 30, 2011.   On January 20, 2012, the implementing agency, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), posted the comments on its website.  DTSC received ninety submissions from a range of stakeholder interests.  More information about the regulations is available here.

US EPA and California DTSC Form Green Chemistry Partnership

Sustainable Products/Green Chemistry:

On January 12, 2012, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced their Green Chemistry Partnership.  The agencies’ agreement is memorialized in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines principles by which the agencies will cooperate to reduce toxic chemicals in consumer products, create new business opportunities in the emerging safer consumer products economy, and reduce the burden on consumers and businesses struggling to identify what’s in the products they buy for their families and customers.

The agrement supposedly will allow DTSC and EPA to minimize duplication of effort and promote consistency in their assessment methodologies, potentially providing increased environmental protection. The agreement sets up a framework for the agencies to collaborate on Green Chemistry issues so that California’s innovative “Green Chemistry” program can grow.

Jim Jones, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention said:  “This partnership will build and harmonize common tools and practices used to conduct alternative assessments to promote safer products ….  These alternative assessments inform and speed the adoption of safer chemicals for use in products, homes, schools, and workplaces, which produce significant environmental and economic benefits.”

In its press release, EPA said:  “The agreement represents a major advance for Californians looking to buy safer children’s toys, personal care products, household cleaners and other products. By shifting the question of an ingredient’s toxicity to the product development stage, concerns raised by … consumers can be addressed early on. The approach results in safer ingredients, and provides an opportunity for California industry to once again demonstrate its innovative spirit by making products that meet consumer demand throughout the world.”

EPA and DTSC signed the agreement in a ceremony at California’s Kaiser Permanente Sidney R. Garfield Health Care Innovation Center in San Leandro. Kaiser Permanente is nationally recognized as an industry leader in safer products, using its purchasing power and a sustainability scorecard to press suppliers for safer chemicals in medical products.