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GAO Issues EPA Nano Reg Report
In a recent investigation, the U.S. Government Accounting Office studied and reported on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regulation of nanomaterials, whose world market is expected to reach $2.6 trillion by 2015. GAO's study and report
GAO concluded that
- identified examples of current and potential uses of nanomaterials,
- determined what is known about the potential human health and environmental risks from nanomaterials
- assessed actions EPA has taken to better understand and regulate the risks posed by nanomaterials as well as its authorities to do so, and
- identified approaches that other selected national authorities and actions U.S. states have taken to address the potential risks associated with nanomaterials.
"although the body of research related to nanomaterials is growing, the current understanding of the risks posed by these materials is limited….EPA has undertaken a multipronged approach to understanding and regulating the risks of nanomaterials, including conducting research and implementing a voluntary data collection program. Furthermore, under its existing statutory framework, EPA has regulated some nanomaterials but not others. Although EPA is planning to issue additional regulations later this year, these changes have not yet gone into effect and products may be entering the market without EPA review of all available information on their potential risk. Moreover, EPA faces challenges in effectively regulating nanomaterials that may be released in air, water, and waste because it lacks the technology to monitor and characterize these materials or the statutes include volume based regulatory thresholds that may be too high for effectively regulating the production and disposal of nanomaterials."
GAO made several recommendations about EPA's regulation of nanomaterials. These recommendations include EPA's completion of its plan to issue a Significant New Use rule for nanomaterials.
Click here to read GAO's report on nano regulation