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‘Inconsistent Nanosilver Petition should be denied’ — NIA submits Comments to EPA

The Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA) has submitted comments to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the Petition for Rulemaking Requesting EPA Regulate Nanoscale Silver Products as Pesticides.

On the 19 November 2009 the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register asking for public comments on ‘a legal petition for rulemaking and collateral relief’ (filed by a coalition of consumer protection, health and environmental groups, led by the Washington-based International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA)), which demanded the EPA ‘halt the sale of consumer products containing silver nanoparticles’.

In particular the EPA had asked for public comments in order to ‘make the right decision on how to react to the petition’; the Agency noted that ‘in general, the petition requests that the Agency classify nanoscale silver as a pesticide, require formal pesticide registration of all products containing nanoscale silver, analyze the potential human health and environmental risks of nanoscale silver, take regulatory actions under the Federal Insecticide,Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) against existing products that contain nanoscale silver, and take other regulatory actions under FIFRA as appropriate for nanoscale silver products. The Agency has determined that the petition raises issues that potentially affect private and public sector stakeholders. Through this notice, EPA is asking for public comment on the petition’.

The submitted science- and technology-based Comments of the Nanotechnology Industries Association on the Petition for Rulemaking filed by the International Center for Technology Assessment, et al.* were developed in collaboration with other trade associations.

The NIA comments recommends that the ‘EPA should deny the May 1, 2008 petition filed by the International Center for Technology Assessment, et al. (collectively “ICTA”)’ based on a number of reasons, including:

  • The approach [of blanket determinations concerning nanoscale silver and other nanopesticides] is inconsistent both legally and factually with the definition of a pesticide under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (“FIFRA”), which is the source of [the] EPA’s jurisdiction
  • The Petition calls for EPA to promulgate regulations or take other actions that are redundant and therefore unnecessary. EPA already has broad authority under FIFRA to regulate those substances that are pesticides and to require data to make possible the evaluations EPA must make to determine whether to register a particular pesticide product and, if so, under what terms and conditions'


Registered NIA Members can download a ‘NanoSilver Update’ outlining the discussion on potential regulation of nanosilver until that date (provided on the 10 November 2008)

Follow these links to download the NIA Comments on the petition for rulemaking (nanosilver) or to find out more about EPA’s public consultation on the nano-silver petition.

*The NIA Comments were kindly provided by Beveridge & Diamond P.C., who were asked to provide legal counsel in connection with the drafting and submission of comments to the EPA’s public consultation.

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