19 October 2006 01:08 [Source: ICIS news]
The Environmental Protection Agency said it has contacted 500 individuals, organizations and other stakeholders seeking ideas on “the design and development of a stewardship program” that will complement the agency’s existing chemical regulatory activities.
The agency said it anticipates that public and industry participation in development of the stewardship program “will provide a firm scientific foundation for regulatory decisions.” It said it wants to encourage “the development of key scientific information and any appropriate risk management practices” for future regulation of nanomaterials.
Assistant agency administrator Jim Gulliford said of the stewardship plan: “Through open dialogue, public engagement and sound science, we can establish the appropriate oversight for nanoscale materials and ensure public confidence in their safety.”
Nanotechnology involves the development and control of matter at dimensions of 100 nanometers or less. A nanometer is about one ten-thousandth the width of a human hair.
Nanoscale materials may have organizations and properties different than the same chemical substances at larger scales and offer the potential for new materials and applications, the agency noted.
However, nanomaterials also may present risks to human health and the environment and are being regulated as “chemical substances” under the agency’s Toxic Substances Control Act. Under that statute, the agency requires manufacturers of new chemical substances to provide specific information on the substances prior to manufacture or use in commerce.
In addition to inviting public and industry comment, the agency said it plans to hold public hearings. However, no dates or other deadlines were specified in the announcement and agency officials could not be reached late on Wednesday.
Further information on the stewardship plan is available at the agency’s Web site.
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