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May 5, 2010

PPDC Discusses Nanotechnology and Pesticides

Lynn L. Bergeson

On April 29, 2010, during the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC) meeting, William Jordan, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), presented slides regarding nanotechnology and pesticides. Jordan briefly described how OPP is defining nanoscale materials and how the technology is being applied to the field of pesticides. His presentation described OPP’s recent consultation with EPA’s Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) concerning nanosilver and other nanometal pesticide products, as well as other ongoing regulatory activity and future actions OPP intends to take.

OPP’s working definition of nanomaterial is:

An ingredient that contains particles that have been intentionally produced to have at least one dimension that measures between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers.

Although nanomaterials occur naturally and can be produced unintentionally, Jordan noted that OPP’s working definition includes the phrase “intentionally produced,” and that those are the ones OPP intends to address.

To obtain more data on hazard and exposure from nanosilver and other nanometal pesticide products, OPP is in the process of preparing a Federal Register notice on nanomaterials and pesticide products. The notice will announce a new interpretation of regulations under Section 6(a)(2) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and propose a new policy in June 2010. The new interpretation will be that the presence of a nanoscale material is reportable under FIFRA Section 6(a)(2). In the same notice, EPA is expected also to memorialize OPP’s view that an active or inert ingredient would be considered “new” if it is a nanoscale material.

Jordan also announced that OPP intends to respond in June 2010 to the International Center for Technology Assessment’s (ICTA) May 2008 petition. In its petition, ICTA urged EPA to regulate nanosilver products as pesticides, and asked EPA to take action on an estimated 600 unregistered nanosilver products marketed in the U.S.

Jordan noted the following activities in other EPA offices:

  • Office of Research and Development (ORD) developing a Draft Case Study on nanosilver (expected in 2010); and
  • Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) developing the following rules under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA):
  • Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) — Intended to address nanoforms of existing chemicals;
  • Section 8(a) Rule — Would obtain existing data on current nanomaterials; and
  • Section 4 Test Rule — Likely at the end of 2010.