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EPA Proposes Policy on Nanoscale Materials in Pesticide Products (June 2011)

The U.S. EPA announces plans to begin obtaining information on the presence of nanoscale materials in pesticide products.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on June 9, 2011, that it will begin collecting information on the presence of nanoscale materials in pesticide products. Under the requirements of the law, EPA will obtain this data to determine whether the registration of a pesticide may cause an inordinate adverse effect on the environment and human health.

Various organizations, as well as government, academic and private sector scientists have questioned whether the small size, or the unique or enhanced properties of nanoscale materials may, under specific conditions, pose new or increased hazards to humans and the environment.

EPA is aware of the range of potential public and commercial benefits and applications of nanoscale materials, including pest control products. The agency will continue encouraging responsible and innovative development of products containing nanoscale elements while simultaneously addressing potential health and environmental concerns.

The Federal Register will be publishing the new policy options shortly. The notice will also include a proposal for a new approach for how the EPA will determine whether a nanoscale ingredient is a “new” active or inert ingredient when an identical, non-nanoscale form of the nanoscale ingredient is already registered under FIFRA. This approach will help ensure that EPA is informed about the presence of nanoscale ingredients in pesticide products and allow a more thorough review of the potential risks.

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