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February 27, 2008

PEN Brief Reviews Applicability of TRI to Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 26, 2008, the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars released a brief entitled Application of the Toxics Release Inventory to Nanomaterials, which examines whether the Emergency Planning and Community-Right to-Know Act (EPCRA) and the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) could be applied to nanomaterials. According to the brief, although several organizations have analyzed whether specific environmental laws could be used to regulate nanomaterials, none has examined EPCRA or TRI in any detail. Under TRI, the owners and operators of certain facilities are required annually to complete a toxic chemical release form for each listed toxic chemical manufactured, processed, or otherwise used in a certain quantity in the preceding year. The brief discusses how the following requirements may apply to nanomaterials: facilities; toxic chemicals; threshold amounts; and information reported.