US offers industry voluntary submission of nanotechnology risks
1 February 2008
Industry, non-governmental organizations and other
groups in the US can voluntarily submit safety data on engineered nanoscale
materials under the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plan for the
Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program under the Toxic Substances Control
“This program will help strengthen the scientific
understanding of nanoscale materials and allow the EPA to more quickly
assemble the information needed to ensure appropriate oversight of the
products of this promising technology,” said Jim Gulliford, EPA’s Assistant
Administrator for Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances.
“Participation in this program can help assure the responsible development,
use, and acceptance of these materials in the marketplace.”
The program calls on manufacturers, importers, processors, and users of
engineered nanoscale materials to report to EPA key information about these
materials within six months. The agency will evaluate the information to
help ensure the safe manufacture and use of these nanoscale materials.
EPA will also work with manufacturers, importers, processors and users of
nanoscale materials to develop test data to provide a scientific basis for
assessing the hazards, exposures, and risks of nanoscale materials. The NMSP
will complement and support EPA's new and existing chemical programs under
the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
According to Project on Emerging
Nanotechnologies (PEN) Director David Rejeski, "The information obtained
under the stewardship program could help government officials develop a
better understanding of the risks and benefits posed by the novel materials,
but this voluntary program provides virtually no incentives for industry
According to former EPA official and PEN senior advisor J.
Clarence Davies, "Starting the stewardship program is a positive step toward
filling in some of the information gaps facing the agency. But there should
be an interplay between modifying TSCA, such as promulgating a significant
new use rule for nanomaterials, and the voluntary program."
Information on the Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program
Nanotechnology under the Toxic Substances Control Act:
The Project on Emerging Technologies