The Environmental Protection Agency on March 25 unveiled two precedent-setting regulatory moves on nanomaterials.
First, the agency will require registration under the federal pesticides law of products containing nanoscale silver that are designed to control microbes. EPA will not, however, classify all nanosilver products as pesticides, the agency says in a response to a 2008 petition from activist groups that are seeking stronger regulation of nanomaterials. The agency indicated it would not immediately act against unregistered antimicrobial nanosilver products, such as socks, now sold in the U.S.
Second, EPA separately proposed a one-time requirement for makers of nanoscale commercial chemicals currently on the market to notify the agency about all available health and safety data for their products. Under this Toxic Substances Control Act proposal, these manufacturers would also have to submit production volume and processing, use, exposure, and release information to EPA.