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EPA Extends comment period

Wednesday’s Federal Register carried a notice from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) extending the comment period for proposed methods of collecting information regarding the use of nanoscale materials in pesticides published in the Federal Register of June 17, 2011. The original deadline for submitting comments was July 18, 2011. The deadline for submission has been extended to august 17, 2011.

The 30 day extension was requested by four commenters – Croplife America, a trade group repsenting " the developers, manufacturers, formulators and distributors of plant science solutions for agriculture and pest management in the United States", the American Chemical Council, the Chemical Producers and Distributors Association, a trade group "representing the interests of generic pesticide registrants, with a membership that includes manufacturers, formulators, and distributors of pesticide products", and theInternational Center for Technology Assessment, "a non-profit, bi-partisan organization committed to providing the public with full assessments and analyses of technological impacts on society". The comments may beviewed on Regulations.gov.

Information on submitting comments is available from either the original notice or the notice published on Wednesday.…

Nanotechnology Regulation “Urgently Needed,” Says Former EPA Official

The Woodrow Wilson Center released a study entitled "EPA and Nanotechnology:  Oversight for the 21st Century," authored by a former high-level EPA administrator, J. Clarence Davies.  Mr. Davies argues that EPA oversight and regulation of nanotechnology is "urgently" needed.  The Wilson Center has the full text of the report available here.

The report is summarized in this Science Daily article.  The article notes the reaction from the Wilson Center’s Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies:

"This new report seeks to encourage EPA, Congress, and others to create an intelligent oversight approach that empowers EPA and promotes investment and innovation in new nanotechnology products and processes," said David Rejeski, director of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Wilson Center (PEN). "As both the chair and ranking minority member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology stated last year, ‘Nanotechnology is an area of research that could add billions of dollars to the U.S. economy, but that won’t happen if it is shrouded in uncertainty about its [environmental, health and safety] consequences.’ "

The Science Daily article also summarizes the approach Davies recommends.  Specifically, it appears that Davies is focusing on creating an industry-EPA partnership to study the toxicity of nanotechnologies and creating an inter-agency coordinating group (possibly involving FDA and OSHA) to oversee nanotechnology regulation.   The eventual goal, it seems, is to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to expand EPA’s power to regulate the area.  It is promising that Davies’ proposal involves significant industry cooperation in the development of any …

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