Thursday, October 19, 2006

EPA TSCA Nanotechnology Stewardship Program

Oct 18: U.S. EPA is launching a collaborative process to design a Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program under TSCA, to complement and support its efforts on new and existing nanoscale materials. Many nanoscale (one to 100 nanometers) materials are regarded as "chemical substances" under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). TSCA provides EPA with a strong framework for ensuring that new and existing chemical substances are manufactured and used in a manner that protects against unreasonable risks to human health and the environment. For example, EPA requires manufacturers of new chemical substances to provide specific information to the Agency for review prior to manufacturing chemicals or introducing them into commerce. EPA can require reporting or development of information to assess existing chemicals already in the marketplace. Additionally, EPA can take action to ensure that those chemicals that pose an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment are effectively controlled.

EPA has received and reviewed a number of new chemical notices under TSCA for nanoscale materials and expects the number to increase in the future. The Agency will continue to implement TSCA to enable responsible development of nanotechnology and realize its potential environmental benefits. EPA says it will apply sound science, assess and, where appropriate, manage potential unreasonable risks to human health and the environment presented by nanoscale materials. EPA will be working collaboratively with stakeholders to develop and implement the Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program, and will announce a variety of opportunities for public input. The Agency will use the information resulting from the stewardship program to support the further development of its TSCA program for nanoscale materials, including any regulatory actions that may be needed to protect human health and the environment.

Elements involved in the design and implementation of the Stewardship Program will include: (1) public scientific peer consultations to discuss risk management practices and characterization for nanoscale materials; (2) an overall framework document describing the TSCA program for nanoscale materials; (3) a document on distinguishing the TSCA Inventory status of "new" versus "existing" chemical nanoscale materials; (4) a concept paper describing EPA's thinking for the Stewardship Program, as well as an Information Collection Request to collect data under the Stewardship Program; (5) workshops examining the pollution prevention opportunities for nanoscale materials; and (6) a public meeting to discuss these documents and program elements.

As part of the effort, EPA is creating a list of stakeholders. The Agency has sent letters to more than 500 organizations and individuals inviting participation in the design and development of a stewardship program that will help to better understand the potential risks and benefits of nanotechnology. Additionally, an email notification list is being established to distribute new information on EPA efforts on nanotechnology under TSCA (See below). EPA held a preliminary meeting in Washington, DC, on October 19, 2006 to launch its new effort.

Access an EPA release (click here). Access the stakeholder letter from EPA (click here). Access an overview of the Program and links to additional information (click here). Access a FR announcement of the October 19, 2006 meeting (click here). Subscribe to EPA Nanotech TSCA notification list (click here). Access the National Nanotechnology Initiative website for additional information (click here). Access the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies for additional information (click here). Access previous post Groups Call For Nanotechnology Consumer Protection [*Toxics]