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February 21, 2018

CPSC Will Continue to Use Agency Collaborations to Focus on the Environmental Health and Safety of Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On February 12, 2018, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) posted its Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Performance Report.  According to the Report, in fiscal year (FY) 2017, CPSC exceeded its target of five collaborations by establishing seven research collaborations on the environmental health and safety of nanomaterials.  The collaborations “will increase knowledge of the potential exposure to consumers from products that contain nanomaterials and explore methods to measure their release from consumer products.”  The Report states that to help advance nanotechnology research and development, CPSC continued collaborative work during FY 2017 through established Interagency Agreements with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH):

  • CPSC’s collaboration with NIST: NIST is collaborating with CPSC to evaluate methods for assessing the release of nanomaterials in dust samples collected from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Healthy Home Survey and releases from consumer products, as well as validate test methods for nanomaterials;
  • CPSC’s Collaboration with NNCO: In FY 2017, CPSC established an agreement with NNCO to conduct a workshop to highlight the science and measurement challenges associated with assessing the potential release of engineered nanomaterials from manufactured products. The primary focus of the workshop will be to determine the state of the science and the tools and methods available to characterize and quantify the presence of nanomaterials in products, the potential for their release, and the potential for population exposure; and
  • CPSC’s Collaboration with NIOSH: NIOSH, in a collaboration with CPSC, recently conducted Phase 1 of a study to research the following aspects of nanoparticles:  particle generation, characterization, and fractionation; in vitro dosimetric determination; in vitro toxicity investigation in multiple cell lines; and in vivo evaluation of Positive Expiratory Pressure-induced cardiovascular effects via inhalation.  In FY 2017, NIOSH conducted a follow-up, Phase 2 study to investigate environmental health and safety implications from engineered nanomaterials released from nano-enabled products during consumer use in targeted study areas.

Regarding its plans for improving performance, the Report states that in FY 2018, CPSC “has fewer resources for nanomaterial efforts and will continue to focus on environmental health and safety issues through collaborations with other federal agencies.”