The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have announced a research collaboration effort to assess any potential impacts of nanomaterials on people’s health and the environment. Nanomaterials are very small particles that are about 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair appear in many household products ranging from clothing to building materials.
“Nanotechnology and nanomaterials used in the development of these products improve our everyday lives, but it is important that we understand how humans are exposed to nanomaterials and to assess the risks they may pose to people’s health and the environment,” said Tina Bahadori, national program director for EPA’s Chemical Safety for Sustainability Research. “This innovative research greatly improves what is known about nanomaterials and will inform the future design of more sustainable, effective nanomaterials.”
Treye Thomas, program manager for the CPSC Nanotechnology program, said: “These tiny nanomaterials are widely used in products ranging from clothing to sunscreen, but the need for additional research and knowledge on how they affect consumers is great. The CPSC staff is working diligently to meet the challenges involved in regulating this emerging technology, and is pleased to be collaborating with staff at EPA to develop test methods and exposure data to adequately address health and safety concerns.”
EPA's collaborative research with CSPC, which will coordinate with 25 other U.S. agencies, will focus on a number of nanotechnology issues, including protocol development to assess the potential release of nanomaterials from consumer products, credible rules for consumer product testing to evaluate exposure, and determination of the potential public health impacts of nanomaterial used in consumer products.