lunes, 1 de noviembre de 2010

Nanotechnology Presents Regulatory Mess

Oregon State University researchers tested more than 200 nanomaterials as part of a program studying potential risks posed by nanotechnology in pesticides. The study published Oct. 4 in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health determined that most nanomaterials tested did not pose any toxic concerns.

But some nanoparticles did show potential safety problems, leading researchers to determine that pesticide manufacturers will need to disclose exactly what nanoparticles are in their products and ensure the compounds are tested in the same way people would be exposed to them in the real world.

The debate over how safe nano-enabled products are in consumer use and the workplace has created uncertainty for manufacturers utilizing nanotechnology and a potential mess of regulatory requirements. Proposed testing laws could make it costly and difficult for manufacturers to comply, say some industry experts.

One of the ways the Environmental Protection Agency plans to regulate nanotechnology is through the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act. The EPA is developing new Significant New Use Rules under TCSA that would require anyone who intends to manufacture, import or process new nanoscale materials based on chemical substances listed on the TCSA inventory to notify the EPA at least 90 days before they begin such activities.

The notification would need to include risk-related data, such as chemical identification, material characterization, physical properties, commercial uses and toxicity. The EPA also is proposing a rule that would require manufacturers of nanoscale materials to provide the agency with more detailed information, including production volume, methods of manufacture and processing, exposure and release information and available health and safety data.

The EPA plans to submit its proposals regarding nanotechnology testing and reporting before the end of the year.

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