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December 2, 2010

ICTA Petitions EPA to Investigate Nano-Copper Pesticides

Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 18, 2010, the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate nano-copper pesticides. ICTA, which petitioned EPA in May 2008 to regulate nano-silver and other nano-pesticide products, singles out three registrations obtained by Osmose, Inc. for “micronized” copper carbonate. According to ICTA, “it does not appear that Osmose advised EPA when it applied for these three registrations that any of these products included intentionally produced nanoscale material, but, as explained below, it clearly knew this was the case.” The Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) has stated that it intends to treat any pesticide products containing nanoscale materials as new products, and ICTA notes that “registrants were also on notice well before 2008 that OPP wanted any applicant requesting registration of a pesticide product containing a nanoscale active ingredient or inert ingredient to disclose that fact during the application process.” ICTA claims that Osmose used the formulator’s exemption to register its products, although it intentionally modified the structure of the purchased active ingredient to create nanoscale particles, which it neglected to tell EPA. ICTA requests that EPA “immediately investigate” the three products, and revoke the registrations, if EPA determines that Osmose registered the products on the basis of an invalid claim. ICTA also requests that EPA “thoroughly investigate other possible nanoscale copper products, which should include but not be limited to copper-based wood treatment products currently available on the market, as similar actions under FIFRA may be necessary.”