Environmental Science & Technology recently released an editorial discussing nanotechnology safety issues and, more importantly, the recent debate over whether EPA should regulate nanoscale materials as new chemicals under TSCA. The editorial succinctly sets forth EPA’s position, as expressed by Jim Willis, EPA’s Chemical Control Division Director, on the TSCA issue this way:
In an EPA document, TSCA Inventory Status of Nanoscale Substances—General Approach, released on July 12, the agency explained why it could not group all nanomaterials as new substances solely on the basis of size. This is because the definition of a new chemical under TSCA is based on only molecular structure or identity. If a nanomaterial contains the same molecules as a chemical already in the TSCA inventory, it is an existing chemical, says Willis. And almost all nanomaterials being researched and manufactured today are chemically identical to existing chemicals in the TSCA inventory. Thus, EPA has no authority to regulate them. Carbon nanotubes and fullerenes, for example, are made of carbon, an existing chemical in the inventory.
h/t to TGDaily.com.