EPA Proposes Policy on Nanoscale Materials in Pesticides

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it plans to obtain information on nanoscale materials in pesticide products. Under the requirements of the law, EPA will gather information on what nanoscale materials are present in pesticide products to determine whether the registration of a pesticide may cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment and human health. The proposed policy will be open for public comment.

“We want to obtain timely and accurate information on what nanoscale materials may be in pesticide products, “said Steve Owens assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “This information is needed for EPA to meet its requirement under the law to protect public health and the environment.”

A number of organizations, as well as government, academic and private sector scientists, have considered whether the small size of nanoscale materials or the unique or enhanced properties of nanoscale materials may, under specific conditions, pose new or increased hazards to humans and the environment.

EPA also recognizes that nanoscale materials have a range of potentially beneficial public and commercial applications, including pest control products. The agency will continue to encourage responsible and innovative development of products containing nanoscale materials to realize these benefits while also addressing health or environmental concerns.

The new proposed policy options will be published in the Federal Register shortly. The notice will also propose a new approach for how EPA will determine whether a nanoscale ingredient is a “new” active or inert ingredient for purposes of scientific evaluation under the pesticide laws, when an identical, non-nanoscale form of the nanoscale ingredient is already registered under FIFRA. This approach will help ensure that EPA is informed about the presence of nanoscale ingredients in pesticide products and allows a more thorough review of the potential risks.  


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