Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > EPA Nanotechnology Voluntary Program Risks Becoming a "Black Hole"

Abstract:
Leading environmental group decries lack of transparency in Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program

EPA Nanotechnology Voluntary Program Risks Becoming a "Black Hole"

Washington, DC | Posted on July 28th, 2008

Six months after launching its voluntary reporting program for nanomaterial producers, EPA has made virtually no information public about the limited number of submissions it has received. As a result, the public can have little confidence that the program is providing the information the Agency will need to protect citizens, consumers, workers and the environment from the potential risks of nanotechnology, according to Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

The EPA intended its Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program (NMSP) to provide both EPA and the public with a better understanding of what nanomaterials are being produced, how they're being used and what their producers know about them.

"EPA not only appears to have received limited information, but worse, EPA is saying almost nothing about it. The information being received appears to be entering a ‘black hole,'"said Richard A. Denison, Ph.D., EDF Senior Scientist. "Limited participation, some company submissions covering only a single nanomaterial, ignorance as to the extent of information being provided, and an almost total lack of public transparency are not a good recipe for a program that was supposed to help restore the public's trust."

The only information EPA has provided on its website is a list of companies that have made submissions (nine companies as of today) or said they intend to (11 companies as of today). The nine submissions equal the number received under the United Kingdom's nanomaterial voluntary reporting scheme.<#_ftn1>[1] All of these companies have or intend to volunteer under the "basic" program component, which calls on companies to report only information they already possess on the identity, properties, production and management of their nanomaterials. Two of these companies have also volunteered for the "in-depth" program component, which could entail new testing.

To put these numbers into perspective: When it launched the NMSP, EPA said it expected to receive 240 submissions from 180 companies under the basic program, and to attract 15 participants in the in-depth program.<#_ftn2>[2] EPA based its projections on an estimate that, in 2005, more than 600 companies were manufacturing and applying nanotechnology, a number that has surely grown since then.

"EPA was unwilling to include in the program meaningful ways to measure how complete or representative the information being submitted is," said Denison. "For example, EPA didn't ask companies to tell them how many nanomaterials they produce, or even require them to indicate whether the information they're submitting on a given nanomaterial is complete or not."

Through inquiries to EPA, EDF has managed to discern that:

-A number of the submissions received to date provide data only for a single nanomaterial, despite the strong likelihood that most or all submitting companies are engaged with multiple nanomaterials;
-EPA's website notes that the submissions cover 68 nanoscale materials, but does not indicate how many were submitted by each company -- a single company apparently accounts for the vast majority of these materials, all of them metal-based;
-An unknown number of the submissions have been claimed by the submitter to be confidential business information (CBI), including in one case the identity of the company itself;
-EPA has no immediate plans to make public even the non-CBI submissions it receives.


Equally important is what EPA has not made public and EDF has not been able to find out:

-What nanomaterials the submissions cover;
-The extent of information provided for each nanomaterial;
-Whether each submitter provided all or only part of the requested information it possesses on its volunteered nanomaterial;
-Whether any health and safety studies were provided (which are ineligible to be claimed as CBI under the Toxic Substances Control Act);
-Whether those claiming their submissions as CBI did so for all or part of their submissions;
Whether EPA has reviewed or plans to review CBI claims to verify their legitimacy.

"At the time EPA launched the NMSP, EDF warned that it would likely yield a selective and skewed picture of the state of nanomaterial production and use in the United States," concluded Denison. "Because of flaws in the design of the NMSP, not even EPA - let alone the public - has any idea whether a given submission represents all or only a small portion of the information a company has on its nanomaterials."

####

About Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental Defense Fund, a leading national nonprofit organization, represents more than 500,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense Fund has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Sharyn Stein
202-572-3396


Richard Denison
202-387-3500

Copyright © Environmental Defense Fund

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition: Nagoya University-led team of physicists use a synchrotron radiation X-ray source to probe a so-called 'structure-less' transition and develop a new understanding of molecular conductors August 21st, 2017

Tokai University research: Nanomaterial wrap for improved tissue imaging August 21st, 2017

Silk could improve sensitivity, flexibility of wearable body sensors August 20th, 2017

The power of perovskite: OIST researchers improve perovskite-based technology in the entire energy cycle, from solar cells harnessing power to LED diodes to light the screens of future electronic devices and other lighting applications August 18th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition: Nagoya University-led team of physicists use a synchrotron radiation X-ray source to probe a so-called 'structure-less' transition and develop a new understanding of molecular conductors August 21st, 2017

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet August 17th, 2017

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

2-faced 2-D material is a first at Rice: Rice University materials scientists create flat sandwich of sulfur, molybdenum and selenium August 14th, 2017

Announcements

Nagoya physicists resolve long-standing mystery of structure-less transition: Nagoya University-led team of physicists use a synchrotron radiation X-ray source to probe a so-called 'structure-less' transition and develop a new understanding of molecular conductors August 21st, 2017

Tokai University research: Nanomaterial wrap for improved tissue imaging August 21st, 2017

Silk could improve sensitivity, flexibility of wearable body sensors August 20th, 2017

The power of perovskite: OIST researchers improve perovskite-based technology in the entire energy cycle, from solar cells harnessing power to LED diodes to light the screens of future electronic devices and other lighting applications August 18th, 2017

Environment

Freeze-dried foam soaks up carbon dioxide: Rice University scientists lead effort to make novel 3-D material August 16th, 2017

Two Scientists Receive Grants to Develop New Materials: Chad Mirkin and Monica Olvera de la Cruz recognized by Sherman Fairchild Foundation August 16th, 2017

New approach on research and design for CQD catalysts in World Scientific NANO August 2nd, 2017

Magnetized viruses attack harmful bacteria: Rice, China team uses phage-enhanced nanoparticles to kill bacteria that foul water treatment systems August 2nd, 2017

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

Tests show no nanotubes released during utilisation of nanoaugmented materials June 9th, 2017

NanoMONITOR shares its latest developments concerning the NanoMONITOR Software and the Monitoring stations April 21st, 2017

NIST updates 'sweet' 1950s separation method to clean nanoparticles from organisms January 27th, 2017

Nanoparticle exposure can awaken dormant viruses in the lungs January 17th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project