Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Draft Nanomaterial Case Study Released For Comment

On July 2 , 2012, EPA announced a 60-day public comment period for EPA's case study on multiwalled carbon nanotubes in flame-retardant coatings used in upholstery textiles. The draft document on the study, issued by EPA's National Center for Environmental Assessment (NCEA), does not draw conclusions regarding potential risks or hazards of multiwalled carbon nanotubes; rather, it aims to identify what is known and unknown about the nanotubes to support future research. EPA says the draft document, which is being released for public comment and peer review, is not final. The Agency will consider comments it receives when finalizing the case study. In addition, EPA will hold an information exchange meeting to discuss the draft document and to provide information on the nanomaterial case study.

According to EPA, the draft document follows previous efforts on engineered nanoscale materials, or nanomaterials. Nanomaterials are materials that measure between 1 and 100 nanometers and often possess unusual, if not unique, properties that arise from their small size. Like all materials, EPA says, nanomaterials offer the potential for both benefits and risks.

EPA's 2007 Nanotechnology White Paper included the following recommendations regarding the risk assessment of nanomaterials:
  1.  Develop case studies based on publicly available information on one or several intentionally produced nanomaterials and identify information gaps to help map areas of research that would support the sick assessment process; and
  2. Hold a series of workshops involving a substantial number of experts from several disciplines to assist in these processes.

To meet these recommendations, NCEA has also prepared the Nanomaterial case studies “Nanoscale Titanium Dioxide in Water Treatment and in Topical Sunscreen” [Final] in 2010, and “Nanoscale Silver in Disinfectant Spray” [External Review Draft] in 2012.

The comment period for the draft document begins July 2, 2012, and ends August 31, 2012. The public information exchange meeting will be held on October 29, 2012 at the EPA facility in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

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