DuPont made the first submission under EPA newly rolled-out Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program.  The company submitted data related to its "Light Stabilizer 210" product, and transmitted the data to EPA on February 1.

DuPont released a statement that it was making this submission under the NMSP  in order to support EPA’s program.  Said Terry Medley, global regulatory affairs director, "We are fully supportive of the [NMSP] and believe this program will give the EPA the information that it needs to help ensure the responsible use of new nanomaterials."  In the same statement, DuPont began encouraging other companies to make similar submissions to EPA.  Light Stabilizer 210 is a titanium dioxide compound used to protect plastics from sun exposure.  The same material was used as a test case under the Nano Risk Framework.

And, speaking of the Nano Risk Framework, DuPont’s partner in that effort, Environmental Defense was very critical of EPA’s NMSP, as recently as January 30–two days before DuPont submitted the first data set to EPA.  Environmental Defense claims the NMSP will only delay decision making by regulators while not providing necessary information.  Richard Denison, senior Environmental Defense scientist said, "EPA is simply ‘kicking the can down the road’ by shunning approaches that could have delivered needed information faster, and by opting instead to pursue an open-ended approach with no end in sight."  Environmental Defense is particularly critical of the lack of firm deadlines in the NMSP and the otherwise "loose design" of the program.

While the Nano Risk Framework is a voluntary system of "best practices" that does not involve any centralized reporting, I’m left to wonder what will become of the program now that one of the Framework’s founders, DuPont, has signed onto the NMSP.  Certainly companies can participate in both without too much duplication of effort, but will they?  I’m similarly left wondering if there is any damage to the Environmental Defense/DuPont relationship that once seemed a promising partnership between the private and nonprofit sectors for responsible development of nanomaterials.  I hope that relationship is not negatively impacted by this apparent schism between the actors.

Finally, I am encouraged by the quick response of DuPont to support the NMSP.  I’ve been concerned that the NMSP will go the way of the similar program in the United Kingdom, that garnered 7 submissions in the last 16 months (see prior post here).  DuPont’s immediate participation is an early sign of life for the NMSP.  We’ll have to see if others follow suit.

Information for this post was obtained from SafeNano.