Lynn L. Bergeson, Timothy D. Backstrom, “EPA Issues Stop Sales Order for Unregistered Food Containers Containing Nanosilver: What Are the Implications?,” Nanotechnology Law & Business, Volume 11, Issue 3, 2014.
On March 19, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an administrative order to Pathway Investment Corp. (Pathway) of Englewood, New Jersey, to stop the sale of plastic food storage containers that are not registered with EPA, in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). According to a press release issued on March 31, 2014, by EPA concerning the stop sale order, the Company’s Kinetic Go Green Premium Food Storage Containers and Kinetic Smartwist Series Containers contain “nanosilver” as an active ingredient, and the Company markets other products as containing nanosilver, which the Company claims helps reduce the growth of mold, fungus, and bacteria. EPA notes that such claims can be made only for products that have been properly tested and are registered under FIFRA. EPA states that, in addition to the order sent to Pathway, it also issued warning letters to Amazon, Sears, Walmart, and other large retailers directing them not to sell these food storage containers. This enforcement action put nanosilver in the public spotlight, and not in a good way. This article summarizes recent regulatory developments pertinent to nanosilver, and discusses the recent EPA enforcement action to explain what the case means, and what it does not mean.