Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

android tablet pc

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

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

Sharyn Stein

Richard Denison

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.

Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Haydale and Goodfellow Announce Major Distribution Agreement for Functionalised Graphene Materials July 21st, 2014

Relaunch of the Nanoscribe Website New design, optimized research, and impressive gallery of applications July 21st, 2014

Dongbu HiTek Unveils Low-Voltage BCDMOS Process for Efficient Power Management in Smart Phones and Tablet Computers July 21st, 2014

Iran to Host 1st Asian Congress on Nanostructures on Kish Island July 21st, 2014


Oregon chemists eye improved thin films with metal substitution: Solution-based inorganic process could drive more efficient electronics and solar devices July 21st, 2014

More than glitter: Scientists explain how gold nanoparticles easily penetrate cells, making them useful for delivering drugs July 21st, 2014

Carbyne morphs when stretched: Rice University calculations show carbon-atom chain would go metal to semiconductor July 21st, 2014

Tiny laser sensor heightens bomb detection sensitivity July 19th, 2014


Oxford Instruments Asylum Research Opens an Atomic Force Microscopy Demonstration Lab in Mumbai, India July 21st, 2014

Steam from the sun: New spongelike structure converts solar energy into steam July 21st, 2014

More than glitter: Scientists explain how gold nanoparticles easily penetrate cells, making them useful for delivering drugs July 21st, 2014

Iran to Host 1st Asian Congress on Nanostructures on Kish Island July 21st, 2014


Researchers Use Various Zinc Oxide Nanostructures to Boost Efficiency of Water Purification Process July 13th, 2014

Using Sand to Improve Battery Performance: Researchers develop low cost, environmentally friendly way to produce sand-based lithium ion batteries that outperform standard by three times July 8th, 2014

Development of an interactive tool for the implementation of environmental legislation for nanoparticles manufacturers July 4th, 2014

Up in Flames: Evidence Confirms Combustion Theory: Berkeley Lab and University of Hawaii research outlines the story of soot, with implications for cleaner-burning fuels July 1st, 2014

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

Development of an interactive tool for the implementation of environmental legislation for nanoparticles manufacturers July 4th, 2014

FDA issues guidance on use of nanotechnology in foods July 1st, 2014

Nano-coatings release almost no nano-particles: Silver in the washing machine June 30th, 2014

NNI releases progress review on environmental, health, & safety research June 26th, 2014

The latest news from around the world, FREE

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

Nanotechnology Now Featured Books


The Hunger Project

© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE