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October 16, 2008

EPA Issues Consent Order for Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes

Lynn L. Bergeson

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recently posted two blog items regarding a consent order negotiated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The October 9, 2008, item states that EPA intends to issue a sanitized version of a consent order negotiated with a producer of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT). According to EDF, the order was prompted by EPA’s review of a premanufacturing notification (PMN).

EDF obtained a redacted copy of the consent order, and provides the following summary of the requirements:

  • Conduct a 90-day inhalation toxicity test in rats;
  • Supply EPA with a one-gram sample of its MWCNTs and its Material Safety Data Sheet;
  • Submit certain characterization data within six months after commencing full manufacture;
  • Require its workers to wear protective gloves and clothing shown to be impermeable and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-approved respirators;
  • Use the substance only for a particular use, claimed confidential but generically identified as a “property modifier” in electronics and polymer composites; and
  • Provide the nanomaterial only to entities that agree to the same use restrictions and worker protection conditions.