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December 1, 2011

EPA Conditionally Registers Pesticide Product Containing Nanosilver As a New Active Ingredient

Lynn L. Bergeson

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on December 1, 2011, that it is conditionally registering a pesticide product containing nanosilver as a new active ingredient. HeiQ AGS-20 is a silver-based antimicrobial pesticide product approved for use as a preservative for textiles.  The final registration is not yet in the docket.  We believe, but cannot confirm, the final registration is largely similar to the draft proposed registration issued last year. As members of the nano community know well, this is very good news and demonstrates that EPA is prepared to make regulatory decisions involving nanotechnology, even where, as here, they are likely to inspire controversy.

As a condition of Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) registration, EPA is requiring additional data to confirm its assessment that HeiQ AGS-20 will not cause unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment. EPA proposed on August 13, 2010, that it would conditionally register HeiQ AGS-20, which EPA stated is intended for use as a preservative in textile products, including those made from natural and synthetic fibers and which are used to manufacture indoor use articles such as sheets, blankets, towels, napkins, outerwear, sportswear, sleepwear, undergarments, socks and hosiery, and outdoor use articles such as sailcloth, tarps, tents, and awnings. EPA proposed to grant a four-year conditional registration under Section 3(c)(7)(C) of FIFRA. More information is available in our August 26, 2011, memorandum.

Comments submitted on EPA’s proposed conditional registration are available in the online docket. At this time, responses to these comments, as well as EPA’s Decision Document, have not yet been posted, but are expected shortly. EPA will also submit to the online docket a description of the additional studies and timeline when the data must be submitted.