11 July 2007 22:51 [Source: ICIS news]
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it is seeking public and industry input on two issues: what nanomaterials data the agency should seek from industry, and how regulators should determine whether a nanoscale material is a new or existing chemical substance under current law.
The two draft documents are meant to further the agency’s nanoscale materials stewardship programme (NMSP). That plan of action, announced by EPA in October last year, involves industry in a voluntary effort to establish a scientific foundation for regulation of nanoscale chemical substances.
Nanomaterials have dimensions of 100 nanometres or less, with a nanometre being about one ten-thousandth the width of a human hair. Nanoscale materials may have organisations and properties different than the same chemical substances at larger scales and offer the potential for new materials and applications.
However, nanomaterials also may pose risks to human health and the environment and are being viewed by EPA as falling within its regulatory authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
The first draft document issued on Wednesday outlines the agency’s general plans to gather data on existing nanoscale substances, identify risk management practices in commercialising nanomaterials, encourage testing procedures and promote responsible development.
The second draft document describes how the agency now determines whether a nanoscale material is new or existing within the context of TSCA. Manufacturers and importers of nanomaterials are subject to different reporting and compliance requirements depending on that distinction.
Both documents are open to public comment for 60 days and are available at the agency’s nanoscale development Web site.
EPA also said it will hold an open hearing in
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