Thursday, November 23, 2006

First Federal Nano Regulations: Bacteria-Killing Silver Particles

In what the Washington Post's Rick Weiss calls the "first federal restriction to focus largely on nanotechnology," the EPA announced yesterday that it will regulate products that contain bacteria-killing silver particles at the nano scale.
However, "[m]ost nanomaterials -- which by definition are on the scale of a billionth of a meter -- will remain outside the purview of the new EPA decision."
What's especially interesting is that the new regulation is the first strict application of the precautionary principle by a Federal agency in the area of nanotechnology, and puts the burden of proof on the manufacturers.
"Under the new determination, first reported on Tuesday by the Daily Environment Report, a Washington publication, and confirmed yesterday by the EPA, any company wishing to sell a product that it claims will kill germs by the release of nanotech silver or related technology will first have to provide scientific evidence that the product does not pose an environmental risk."

(Click here for the full Washington Post story.)
The new regulations come in the wake of a controversy in Germany surrounding Samsung's washing machines which rely on a similar technology, called SilverCareTM. Foresight's Christine Peterson blogged on this two days ago on NanoDot.

For an overview of products containing silver particles, see the nano|public posting from June 6, 2006.