On December 16, a group of NGOs sued [PDF] the U.S. EPA over the agency’s failure to regulate nanosilver in consumer products. The plaintiffs, which include the Center for Food Safety, Center for Environmental Health, and Beyond Pesticides, seek to compel EPA to take action in response to their 2008 petition for rulemaking. The groups’ petition requested that EPA regulate nanosilver products as pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), thus requiring product manufacturers to obtain pesticide registrations. The petition also asked EPA to analyze “the potential human health and environmental risks” of nanosilver under FIFRA and other environmental statutes, including the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Since the 2008 petition, EPA has accepted comments on the petition, enforced against companies making antimicrobial claims about nanosilver-containing products, convened a scientific advisory panel, and proposed a policy statement on the subject, but the NGOs maintain that EPA’s actions constitute an “ongoing failure to meaningfully regulate nanotechnology.” The plaintiffs contend that EPA has violated the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to provide a timely response to the 2008 petition.
The case is Center for Food Safety et al v. McCarthy, Case No. 14-cv-2131, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.