Lobbyists use courts to force EPA’s hand on nanosilver

In the US, a coalition of environmental advocacy groups lodged a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in mid-December 2014, according to a report from lawyers Arnold and Porter LLP.

In the US, a coalition of environmental advocacy groups lodged a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in mid-December 2014, according to a report from lawyers Arnold and Porter LLP.

The case attempts to compel the EPA to take further action against silver and nanosilver when it is included in products for its antimicrobial properties. As it is the federal regulator responsible for pesticides this use brings nanosilver into the remit of the EPA.

The EPA has taken action against a range of products, including packaging that has claimed to contain nanosilver, most recently in March 2014.

This has not satisfied the plaintiffs, who include Beyond Pesticides and the Center for Food Safety. They have revived a petition initially filed against the EPA in 2008, claiming it is failing to meet its obligations under the Administrative Procedures Act to address what they consider to be a harmful environmental chemical.

The group's submission cites 'studies [which] indicate that nano-technology-based products may be harmful to beneficial bacteria, fish, and aquatic ecosystems.' As part of an enduring campaign against nanosilver they now argue that '[the] EPA's proposed guidance and singular enforcement actions are utterly inadequate to fulfil the agency's statutory duties with regard to protecting health and the environment from the impacts of nanopesticides.'

If successful the action may prompt the EPA to publish a Final Rule on regulating the antimicrobial substance.


This article comes from Food Contact World, which provides exclusive news and analysis on developments in food contact material , markets, and technologies.

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