The Environmental Protection Agency is inviting comments through July 6 on a proposal that would allow it for the first time to use its authority under section 8(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act to collect health and safety information on chemicals currently in the marketplace when imported, manufactured or processed as nanoscale materials.

The EPA proposes to require persons that do or intend to import, manufacture or process these chemical substances to electronically report certain information, including the specific chemical identity, production volume, methods of manufacture and processing, exposure and release information, and existing data concerning environmental and health effects. This proposal involves one-time reporting for existing nanoscale materials and one-time reporting for new discrete nanoscale materials before they are imported, manufactured or processed.

The EPA notes that persons that do or intend to import, manufacture or process the subject chemical substances as part of articles, as impurities or in small quantities solely for research and development would not be subject to these requirements. Foods, food additives, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, pesticides and other materials not considered a chemical substance under TSCA section 3(2) would also not be subject to this rule.

The EPA notes that this proposal is not intended to conclude that nanoscale materials will cause harm to human health or the environment. Being nanoscale is not itself an indication of, or criterion for, hazard or exposure potential, the agency states, and any potential future restrictions on chemical substances manufactured at the nanoscale would be tailored to protect against the specific harms identified for individual substances or categories. In the meantime, the EPA plans to use the information gathered to determine if any further action under TSCA, including additional information collection, is needed.

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