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EPA Invites Comment on Nanotechnology Stewardship (posted 7/19/07)

July 19, 2007
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In its continuing efforts to better understand the potential risks and benefits of nanotechnology, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting the public to comment on the agency’s proposed approach to developing a Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program (NMSP). The EPA’s approach is intended to increase the scientific understanding and ensure appropriate oversight of nanoscale industrial chemicals to facilitate the responsible development of this growing technology.

The effort will call on manufacturers of engineered nanoscale chemical materials to develop and report key information needed on these materials to help ensure the safe manufacture and use of the products of nanotechnology. This program will complement and support the EPA’s new and existing chemical programs under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

The NMSP proposes to cover, but is not limited to, existing chemical nanoscale materials manufactured or imported for commercial purposes as defined by the TSCA. The NMSP will also help to provide a firmer scientific foundation for regulatory decisions by encouraging the development of key scientific information and the use of a basic set of risk management practices in developing and commercializing nanoscale materials. The EPA is seeking comment on a concept paper for the NMSP and the Information Collection Request (ICR) for the program.

The EPA is also seeking comment on a document outlining its current approach for determining whether a nanoscale material is a “new” or “existing” chemical substance under the TSCA. Manufacturers and importers of nanoscale materials that meet the definition of “chemical substances” under the TSCA are subject to different requirements and reporting depending on whether the materials are considered new or existing chemicals.

A public meeting will be held August 2 to receive comments, and the documents will be open for public comment for 60 days. For information on the public meeting or to read and comment on the documents that outline these efforts, visit http://epa.gov/oppt/nano/nmspfr.htm. Additional details regarding the TSCA are available at http://www.epa.gov/region5/defs/html/tsca.htm.

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