New EPA Rule for Carbon-Nanotubes

Readers engaged in nanomaterial applications may be interested in EPA’s new Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) for multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). Enterprises wishing to manufacture, import, or process MWCNTS are now potentially subject to Significant New Use Notice (SNUN) regulatory procedures which include the submission of ‘appropriate’ health and safety data. This rule is incorporated into the Code of Federal Regulations at 40 CFR § 721.10183.

EPA evaluation of MWCNTs, and carbon nanotubes generally, has established that exposure may cause lung effects (pulmonary toxicity, fibrosis, carcinogenicity), immunotoxicity, and mutagenicity. More information on toxicological effects is reported in the Summary of EPA’s Current Assessments of Health and Environmental Effects of Carbon Nanotubes (available in the MWCNT SNUR Docket).

EPA recommends SNUNs provide detailed information on the following:

  • Human exposure and environmental release that may result from the significant new use of the chemical substance.
  • Potential benefits of the chemical substance.
  • Information on risks posed by the chemical substance compared to risks posed by potential substitutes.

EPA notes that upon review of a SNUN, the Agency has the authority to require additional testing. Any manufacturers, importers, or processors who intend to conduct testing or submit a SNUN are encouraged to contact EPA to determine ‘appropriate’ testing methods. Substantial detail about this and other governing TSCA provisions is provided in the FR notice (76 FR 26186 (available in the MWCNT SNUR Docket)). More information on SNUN requirements generally is available here and information on requirements for test data is available from EPA and the ACC.

This SNUR is specific to MWCNTs of a specific structure. However, confidentiality claims preclude a more detailed description of the identity of this MWCNT. To determine whether a specific CNT, MWCNT, or single-wall carbon nanotube is on the TSCA Inventory, manufacturers should submit a bona fide intent to manufacture or import to EPA.

Exempt from the rule are MWCNTs that are completely reacted (cured), incorporated or embedded into a polymer matrix that itself has been reacted (cured), or embedded in a permanent solid polymer form that is not intended to undergo further processing except for mechanical processing.

Reminder: Upcoming ABA Conference on the Governance of Nanotechnology


For readers interested in the environmental regulation of nanotechnology, you ought to seriously consider this program. The speakers are top-notch and the topics are timely and interesting.  Enjoy!


ABA Webinar Thursday May 19

Nano Governance: The Current State of Federal, State, and International Regulation

Program: 1-5:30 p.m.

Networking Reception Immediately Following (DC site only)

No cost for in-person attendance

Washington, DC (register)

San Francisco, CA (register)

Durham, NC (register)

Webinar (register)


The program will explore the new and creative applications of existing regulatory tools and governance approaches to address the potential risks of nanotechnologies, implement new risk assessment approaches to evolving technologies, and maximize the potential benefits of these materials. Speakers will discuss the approaches various government agencies are pursuing to accommodate evolving nanotechnologies and address potential public health and environmental impacts.


Jim Alwood, Program Manager, Chemical Control Division, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, U.S.

Raj Bawa, M.S., Ph.D., President of Bawa Biotechnology Consulting LLC, Ashburn, VA

Richard A. Denison, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Environmental Defense Fund, Inc., Washington,

Steffi Friedrichs, Ph.D., Nanotechnology Industries Association, Brussels, Belgium

Steve Froggett, Ph.D., Froggett & Associates, Seattle, WA

Thomas R. Jacob, Coordinator, California Nanotechnology Initiative

William Jordan, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Pesticide Programs, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,

Neena Sahasrabudhe, Ph.D., Office of Pollution Prevention and Green Technology, California

Treye A. Thomas, Ph.D., Toxicologist, Directorate for Health Sciences, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission,

Rosalind Volpe, Ph.D., Executive Director, Silver Nanotechnology Working Group A Program of Silver Research

Impacts of Silver Nanoparticles on Wastewater Treatment

Readers involved with industrial and commercial uses of nanomaterials may be interested in the Water Environment Research Foundation’s new report, Impacts of Silver Nanoparticles on Wastewater Treatment.

According to the report, silver nanoparticles from manufacturing and consumer products enter sewers and wastewater treatment plants in unknown quantities. For example, because silver nanoparticles are water soluble, as much as 100 percent of these particles might be able to leach out of clothing in just a few washes. In areas where industrial processes use these materials, concentrations of 0.1mg/L have been observed in municipal wastewater treatment plants.

Wastewater treatment processes generally reduce effluent levels to 10 percent or less of influent concentrations. This means that very low concentrations of silver may be reaching the receiving waters. However, because nanoparticles are more reactive than other forms of silver, many scientists and environmentalists are concerned about toxicity and environmental impacts. (See e.g., Silver Nanoparticles and Silver Nitrate Cause Respiratory Stress in Eurasian Perch, Aquatic Toxicology, January 2010; Nanometals Induce Stress and Alter Thyroid Hormone Action in Amphibia at or below North American Water Quality Guidelines, Environ. Sci. Technol., October 2010; Silver Nanotechnologies and the Environment: Old Problems or New Challenges, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, 2008)

WERF investigated the effects of these particles on activated sludge and anaerobic digestion. The research found that the nitrifying bacteria essential to removing ammonia from wastewater treatment systems were especially susceptible to inhibition by silver nanoparticles. Silver ions and silver nanoparticles concentrations as low as 0.4 mg/L inhibited the growth of nitrifying bacteria. In addition, anaerobic microbial activity in biomass (i.e., sewage sludge) was inhibited at silver nanoparticles concentrations of 19 mg/L.

WERF notes that the presence of nanoparticles during sludge treatment can have beneficial results. Recent WERF research has found that nanomaterials reduce the potential for odors in wastewater treatment and improve solids processing. (See Use of Nanomaterials for Biosolids Odor Reduction and Improved Dewaterability.)

Save the Date: Exciting Upcoming ABA Program on Nano Governance


For readers interested in the current state of play regarding governance of nanotechnology, the ABA Pesticides, Chemical Regulation and Right-To-Know Committee, along with other committees listed below, is organizing the following half-day event.



January 27, 2011



Please mark January 27, 2011, on your calendar for an exciting program under development by the Pesticides, Chemical Regulation, and Right-to-Know Committee and the Science and Technology Section, Nanotechnology Committee. Program co-sponsors include the Young Lawyers Division Administrative Law and Environment Energy and Resources Law Committees and the Section on the Environment and Energy Resources, Environmental Disclosure Committee.

Program:  Nano Governance:  The Current State of Federal, State, and International Regulation

Date:  Thursday, January 27, 2011

Time:  1:00 – 5:30 p.m. (EST).  Networking reception immediately following.

Tentative Program Overview:

  1. The Federal Regulatory Outlook
  2. Beyond The Feds:  International/State Regulatory Programs and Strategies for Addressing Nanoscale Materials
  3. Perspectives from the Field


More details to follow shortly, but for questions on this tentative program, please contact Irene A. Hantman at

Also remember that the PCRRTK Committee web page provides you with access to valuable resource materials and analysis from past programs, newsletters, reports, and Practitioners E-reference documents covering a wide range of pesticide, chemical regulation, and right-to-know legal issues.  Please visit us at


DTSC Announces New Date for the Public Workshop on Nanomaterials


The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced a new date for its public workshop on nanomaterials.  State budget constraints forced the agency to reschedule the meeting from its original date of August 13.   The new date is Wednesday, September 22, 2010.  The workshop will be held at the U.S. EPA Region 9 office in San Francisco, California. 

Persons who previously registered are not required to re-register.   However, DTSC has circulated an email to registrants requesting confirmation of their plans to attend on the new date. 

At the workshop, DTSC and EPA will discuss the results of the carbon nanotube (CNT)  information call-in that DTSC recently completed, future activities by DTSC on other nanomaterial call-ins, and U.S. EPA efforts related to CNTs and future regulatory plans for other nanomaterials.

Reminder: DTSC Reschedules Meeting on Results of Information Call-In for Carbon Nanotubes


Due to state budget constraints, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has had to reschedule its August 13 meeting on carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and other nanoscale chemicals substances and materials.  No new date has been provided.

DTSC was co-sponsoring the meeting with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the University of California, Los Angeles.  The sponsors had planned to discuss the results of the CNT information call-in that DTSC recently completed, future activities by DTSC on nanomaterial call-ins, and U.S. EPA efforts related to carbon nanotubes and future regulatory plans for nanomaterials.

Although readers can register here to attend in-person or via teleconference, no new date for the event has been provided.