Thursday, November 23, 2006

EPA decides to regulate what it already regulates

Just revving up the blogmobile to see if she'll start cold after sitting unused in the driveway for so long. I'll start with an easy one.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced it will regulate products that contain nanoscale bits of silver as anti-microbial agents (NPR story here).

Well, yes, of course it should regulate nanosilver, just as it regulates macroscale silver as anti-microbial agents in products such as pesticides. This falls under the category of "no new regulation needed for nanotech," since this regulation already exists.

The problem here is that silver, whether nanoscale or macroscale, is still clunky old technology that -- standing alone -- cannot be controlled very well since it kills good (or unintended) microbes as well as bad. To me, that ain't nanotech. That's nanoscale stuff being sprinkled into products.

There are, however, real efforts (random one here) being made to create polymers (nano and not) with safe antimicrobial properties. That's the spirit of nanotech. Engineer in the good and engineer out the bad, then let those little buggers loose.

Update: I wonder would I should do now with my SoleFresh NanoSocks? I have been told, in the past, that my footwear could be considered toxic waste, but now it appears that this otherwise subjective opinion could get me into trouble with the EPA.

Ex-FDA official concludes FDA needs more dough
Taking toxicity out of quantum dots
A bunch of nano characters

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The question is how competent the EPA really is.

The EPA just gave permission that pesticides can be sprayed into and over waters without first obtaining special permits.

It is also surprising that the VOC regulations have an exception for Acetone which is to heavy to be volatile.
Due to this decision paint contain now large amounts of acetone and instead of evaporating, that stuff sits in
substrates. But they all can claim they meet the VOC regulations.
And from the nanotechnology point of view Acetone has a particle size of 5 Nm.

The well known alternative to nanosilver is a substance called Triclosan or more common Microban.
Microban Plastic Additive is registered by the US-EPA to inhibit bacterial growth in plastic. No public health­related claims have ever been accepted for this pesticide.

Today, you can find Triclosan basically in every possible application, cosmetics, toys cloth wall paints etc and there are more glass actions than employees at the EPA .

Now there is a real alternative for such a substance and the EPA talks about regulations.
Where are the regulations for Triclosan ???
At least silver is one of the 92 naturally occurring elements. Regardless how small, it is still Silver.

Is the EPA feed by a silver spoon, called lobby?