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Use of decades-old law may have sweeping implications
A major decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fine California technology company IOGEAR more than $200,000 for selling unregistered nano-pesticides is being applauded by David Rejeski, the director of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN).
"EPA should receive a big pat on the back for making this effort," Rejeski says. "It shows that a federal pesticide law that has been on the books for decades can be applied to current applications of nanomaterials, and this decision by the agency could have sweeping implications for dozens of nanoproducts that purport to control germs. More generally, it sends a message to any company using nanotechnology that they need to be vigilant how they portray their products, both in terms of possible risks and benefits."
The IOGEAR products at issue are all listed in PEN's consumer product inventory, which currently contains more than 600 manufacturer-identified nanotechnology products already in commerce. At least 100 of those products maintain antimicrobial or antibacterial claims, which IOGEAR made about its wireless mouse and keyboard products.
PEN's consumer product inventory can be found here: www.nanotechproject.org/consumerproducts
Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, see, manipulate and manufacture things usually between 1-100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter; a flea is roughly 1 million nanometers wide. More than $60 billion in nanotechnology products were sold in 2007. By 2014, Lux Research projects that $2.6 trillion in manufactured goods will incorporate nanotechnology-about 15 percent of total global output.
About The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies is an initiative launched by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable Trusts in 2005. It is dedicated to helping business, government and the public anticipate and manage possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology.
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