CTA Petition Demands EPA Stops Sale of Nano-Silver Products

The International Center for Technology Assessment (CTA) and a coalition of consumer, health, and environmental groups filed a legal petition on May 1 with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), demanding the agency use its pesticide regulation authority to stop the sale of numerous consumer products now using nanosized versions of silver.

Increasingly, CTA says, manufacturers are infusing a large and diverse number of consumer products with nanoparticle silver ("nano-silver") for its enhanced "germ killing" abilities. CTA found more than 260 nano-silver products currently on the market, including household appliances, cleaners, clothing, cutlery, children's toys, personal care products, and coated electronics. CTA's petition states that the release of this unique substance may be highly destructive to natural environments and raises serious human health concerns.

"These nano-silver products now being illegally sold are pesticides," said George Kimbrell, CTA nanotech staff attorney. "Nano-silver is leeching into the environment, where it will have toxic effects on fish, other aquatic species and beneficial microorganisms. EPA must stop avoiding this problem and use its legal authority to fulfill its statutory duties."

Nanotechnology is a powerful new platform technology for taking apart and reconstructing nature at the atomic and molecular level. Just as the size and chemical characteristics of manufactured nanoparticles can give them unique properties, CTA argues that those same new properties--tiny size, vastly increased surface area to volume ratio, high reactivity--can also create unique and unpredictable human health and environmental risks.

CTA's petition demands that EPA regulate nano-silver as a unique pesticide that can cause new and serious impacts on the environment. The hundred-page petition calls on EPA to: regulate these nanotechnology products as new pesticides; require labeling of all products; assess health and safety data before permitting marketing; analyze the potential human health effects, particularly on children; and analyze the potential environmental impacts on ecosystems and endangered species.

"The law does not allow the agency to stand idle while a new legacy of toxic pollution emerges," said Joseph Mendelson, CTA legal director. "In an era of toxic water bottles, now is the time for the EPA to prevent a serious new environmental issue from occurring."

Many of the products listed in the petition's appendix are meant for children (baby bottles, toys, stuffed animals, and clothing) or otherwise create high human exposures (cutlery, food containers, paints, bedding, and personal care products).

Joining the CTA petition are: the Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, ETC Group, Center for Environmental Health, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Clean Production Action, Food and Water Watch, the Loka Institute, the Center for Study of Responsive Law, and Consumers Union.

For more information, including the full text of the petition, visit www.icta.org.

Product Showcase

  • Full Line of Defense Against Combustible Dust Nilfisk

    Nilfisk provides a comprehensive range of industrial vacuums meticulously crafted to adhere to NFPA 652 housekeeping standards, essential for gathering combustible dust in Class I, Group D, and Class II, Groups E, F & G environments or non-classified settings. Our pneumatic vacuums are meticulously engineered to fulfill safety criteria for deployment in hazardous surroundings. Leveraging advanced filtration technology, Nilfisk ensures the secure capture of combustible materials scattered throughout your facility, ranging from fuels, solvents, and metal dust to flour, sugar, and pharmaceutical powders. 3

  • SwabTek® Cannabis Test Kit

    The SwabTek® Cannabis Test Kit is a single-use spot test designed for use in screening for cannabis compounds in any sample type or on any surface. The test is capable of identifying the presumed presence of cannabinoids in very small quantities, with a level of detection as little as 6 μg in mass. Learn more about the SwabTek® Cannabis Test Kit and the rest of SwabTek surface drug testing solutions through the webinar titled "Everything You Want To Know About Surface Testing" 3

  • Matrix's OmniPro Vision AI Collision Avoidance System

    OmniPro Vision AI is a state-of-the-art collision avoidance system that features NIOSH award-winning Visual Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. This highly accurate, powerful system identifies and alerts on pedestrians, vehicles and specified objects, ensuring safer facilities, mining operations and industrial sites. With its web-based cloud application, OmniPro Vision AI also logs and analyzes a wide range of data related to zone breach notifications. Operating without needing personal wearable devices or tags, OmniPro has visual and audible zone breach alerts for both operators and pedestrians. 3

Featured