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FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel Considers Nanosilver

December 2009

Citation: ELR 11143

Author: Lynn L. Bergeson

On November 3-5, 2009, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) met "to consider and review a set of scientific issues related to the assessment of hazard and exposure associated with nanosilver and other nanometal pesticide products." The decision to convene an SAP was nominally motivated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) need to consider four applications pending at the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) seeking registration of products containing nanosilver-based active ingredients.

The nanosilver products, which would take the form of textile additives, polymers, coatings, and/or plastics, would be used to protect a treated product from microorganisms or to impart antimicrobial activity to a treated material. Accordingly, they would be used in the same manner as some of the currently registered silver products, including those used as materials preservatives and antimicrobial pesticides. Notably, many of the 110 currently registered silver-based products actually contain nanosilver.

Unmentioned in either the September 16, 2009, Federal Register notice announcing the public meeting or the SAP Background Document EPA prepared in connection with the meeting is a May 2008 petition submitted by the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) and others requesting, among other actions, that EPA classify nanosilver as a pesticide, require the registration under FIFRA of nanosilver products, and determine that nanosilver is a new pesticide that requires a new FIFRA pesticide registration (available at http://www.icta.org/nanoaction/doc/CTA_nano-silver%20petition_final_5_1_...).

Lynn L. Bergeson is Managing Director of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C., a Washington, D.C., law firm focusing on conventional and engineered nanoscale chemical, pesticide, and other specialty chemical product approval and regulation, environmental health and safety law, chemical product litigation, and associated business issues. She is also President of The Acta Group, L.L.C., and The Acta Group EU, Ltd, with offices in Washington, D.C., and Manchester, UK.

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