EPA Nearing Registration Decision On Nanoscale Pesticide, Official Says

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The Environmental Protection Agency is nearing a decision on the conditional registration of a pesticide containing nanoscale materials that is used as a preservative in textile products, an agency official said April 8.

A conditional, time-limited registration for HeiQ AGS-20, a compound containing silicon and nanosilver particles and that is used to protect textiles, polymers, coatings, or plastics from microbial degradation, was proposed in August 2010 (34 CRR 831, 8/23/10).

The agency is reviewing its comments and will make a final decision “very shortly,” said William Jordan, senior policy adviser with EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs, at a CropLife America and Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment conference in Arlington, Va. “With luck, next month,” Jordan said.

Jordan said EPA has reviewed a large amount of data on the product, including rat oral and inhalation studies, an in vitro dermal study, screening level risk assessments, occupational and consumer exposure assessments, and literature studies, and is nearing a decision.

Policy Under Review.

EPA's draft policy for evaluating pesticides containing nanoscale materials, which the agency submitted to the Office of Management and Budget in July 2010, is still undergoing review, Jordan said (34 CRR 642, 6/28/10).

“I continue to believe it's a sound policy,” Jordan said, referring to the draft policy. He said he hopes OMB review is soon coming to a close, adding, “I've been hopeful since last fall.”

Under the proposed policy, the agency would treat a pesticide product that contains a nanoscale material as new. “We should not assume that existing data is applicable,” Jordan said.

Since the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act requires registrants to report additional factual information to EPA, the agency also plans to inform registrants of their obligation to notify it if their products contain nanoscale materials.

“We need to know if there are other products that contain nanoscale materials,” Jordan said.

He said the agency expects to eventually issue data call-in notices for current registered pesticides that claim to contain nanoscale materials. Jordan said he expects the agency to begin issuing the notices sometime later this year and said they would be issued on a case-by-case basis.

Lynn Bergeson of Bergeson & Campbell PC said she supports regulation on nanoscale materials. “We need an information regulatory system to provide the public the confidence that this is safe,” she said.

By Avery Fellow


Comments on the proposed conditional registration are available at http://www.regulations.gov, under Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-1012-0004.