Following its announcement in November 2008, the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) today published an Interim Report on the EPA Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program (NMSP), aiming to ‘summarize the information that has been submitted to the Agency under the Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program’.

Launched by the EPA in January 2008, the voluntary NMSP invites interested parties to participate in one or both of program parts:

  • In a ‘‘basic’’ program by submitting existing data on the engineered nanoscale materials they manufacture, import, process, or use.
  • In an ‘‘in-depth’’ program to test engineered nanoscale materials they manufacture, import, process, or use.

The initial deadline for submissions (*) was the 29 July 2008; the interim report notes that by that date, ‘the Agency received submissions from 16 companies and trade associations covering 91 different nanoscale materials. As of December 8 2008, twenty-nine companies or associations submitted information to EPA covering 123 nanoscale materials and a further seven companies have outstanding commitments to the Basic Program’.

Much fewer commitments had been received under the "in-depth" program: ‘one company had agreed to participate in the In-Depth Program; by December 8, 2008, 4 companies have agreed to participate’.

The interim report concludes that, ’the NMSP can be considered successful. However, a number of the environmental health and safety data gaps the Agency hoped to fill through the NMSP still exist. EPA is considering how to best use testing and information gathering authorities under the Toxic Substances Control Act to help address those gaps’.

EPA announced the following Next Steps:

  • The NMSP is scheduled to run until January 2010. [...]
  • EPA will initiate discussions with In-Depth participants. [...]
  • EPA will review the data gaps revealed by the NMSP in the context of other national and international data development initiatives, to inform the design and development of the In-Depth program.
  • EPA will continue to evaluate the Basic Program submissions, including information on risk management practices, to identify characteristics of nanoscale materials that should be considered in risk assessment as well as approaches for risk management.
  • EPA will continue developing the comparison of commercially-relevant nanoscale materials and refining categories of nanoscale materials based on molecular identity and physical properties in order to better understand their behavior and help prioritize research and regulatory efforts.
  • The Agency will ultimately incorporate this information into its new and existing chemical review process.
  • EPA will consider how to best apply regulatory approaches under TSCA section 8(a) to address the data gaps on existing chemical nanoscale material production, uses and exposures that were identified through this analysis of the Basic Program information.
  • Due to the limited participation in the In-Depth Program, EPA will also consider how best to apply rulemaking under TSCA section 4 to develop needed environmental, health, and safety data. [...]
  • EPA may adjust or decide next steps for the NMSP as experience or test data warrant.
  • The Agency will issue a more detailed report on the NMSP in January 2010 and decide on any additional NMSP activities as appropriate.
* NOTE: EPA continues to welcome new participants and information submissions for the NMSP, which will continue until January 2010.
EPA welcomes comments on the interim report, and will use those comments, as appropriate, in further refining the NMSP and in the development of the final NMSP report.