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December 10, 2010

EPA Will Hold Public Information Exchange on Nanomaterial Case Studies and Workshop on Nanoscale Silver

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will announce in a Federal Register notice scheduled for publication on December 13, 2010, that it will hold a public information exchange meeting to receive comments and questions on the Nanomaterial Case Studies on January 4, 2011, in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. According to EPA, the meeting will provide it an opportunity to highlight the Nanomaterial Case Studies and how EPA is using the studies as part of an ongoing process to refine a long-term research strategy to support the comprehensive environmental assessment of nanomaterials. Registration is required to attend the meeting, and EPA states that space is limited. Comments may be submitted in writing or made orally during the meeting. Written comments are due December 28, 2010. EPA intends to consider all such comments in evaluating whether or how to develop further case studies and workshops on nanomaterials. To date, EPA has published two Nanomaterial Case Studies — Nanomaterial Case Studies: Nanoscale Titanium Dioxide in Water Treatment and in Topical Sunscreen (Final), available online, and Nanomaterial Case Study: Nanoscale Silver in Disinfectant Spray (External Review Draft), available online.

Immediately following the public information exchange meeting, ICF International (ICF), an EPA contractor, will conduct a separate meeting, the ICF International Nanomaterial Case Studies Workshop: Developing a Comprehensive Environmental Assessment Research Strategy for Nanoscale Silver, in the same location. According to the forthcoming Federal Register notice, the workshop will be conducted with a selected set of invite-only participants in a structured decision science process known as Nominal Group Technique (NGT). The workshop will use the EPA document Nanomaterial Case Study: Nanoscale Silver in Disinfectant Spray (External Review Draft) as a starting point for identifying and prioritizing possible research directions related to nanoscale silver. EPA expects the ICF workshop to conclude by 1:00 p.m. (EST) on Friday, January 7, 2011. Although funded by EPA, the ICF workshop is being conducted independently of EPA so as to comply with provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). The ICF workshop will be open to public observers.

In the Federal Register notice, EPA notes that the public comment periods for the case studies are closed. For the public information exchange meeting, EPA requests comments on either of these documents, especially related to the approach used in developing the case studies and how they could be used in developing a comprehensive environmental assessment research strategy.