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US EPA Carbon Nanotube Ruling to come into Effect in July 2013

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it is ‘promulgating Significant New Use Rulings (SNURs) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for 15 chemical substances’. As revealed in January 2013, one of these substances is ‘functionalized Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotubes (MWCNTs)’. The ruling will be effective from 8 July 2013.

Once this ruling comes into effect, all ‘persons who intend to manufacture, import, or process [functionalized MWCNTs]…for an activity that is designated as a significant new use…to notify EPA 90 days before commencing that activity’. A significant new use is determined after considering ‘all relevant factors’, including:

  • ‘The projected volume of manufacturing and processing of a chemical substance
  • The extent to which a use changes the type or form of exposure to human beings or the environment to a chemical substance
  • The extent to which a use increases the magnitude and duration of exposure of human beings or the environment to a chemical substance
  • The reasonably anticipated manner and methods of manufacturing, processing, distribution in commerce, and disposal of a chemical substance’

In this ruling, it states that whilst human health and environmental concerns have been identified, it does not expect these to be a problem ‘due to the manufacturing, processing, and use processes described in the Pre-Manufacture Notice (PMN) and the use of adequate personal protective equipment’. The agency has also indicated a number of tests that ‘would help characterise the health and environmental effects of the…substance’; it recommends that work done by the OECD’s Sponsorship Programme be ‘taken into consideration’ when doing these tests. NIA contributed to this programme through the PROSPEcT project.

Comments on the ruling are open until 10 June 2013.


Follow this link to read the full text of the ruling, and this link to read the NIA’s coverage of EPA rulings.

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