EPA Can Use History of Regulations of Nanosilver Going Back to the 1950s

Aside from carbon nanotubes and their characteristic of instigating the same biological response as asbestos no specific nanoscale material has inspired the same level of concern that nanosilver has.

Also in the continuing saga that is the Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) concerns surrounding nanotechnology no cause has been more sought after than getting the EPA to look at nanomaterials not only in terms of their chemistry but their size

After years of resisting this implied re-evaluation of the periodic table, the EPA acquiesced to pressure and decided to look not only at the chemical composition of a material but its size to determine toxicity.

In what must come as a blow to NGOs around the world it turns out that the material that has fueled much of their indignation about nanotechnology, nanosilver, has not only been “rationally manufactured, regulated, and used commercially for over a century with no significant adverse environmental, health, and safety effects”, but also the EPA can base its regulations for nanosilver looking back as far back as the 1950s.

In a report of an EPA meeting that was held back in November, the publication Nanolaw Report explains that back during the era of Ike and Elvis, without the benefit of the term “nano”, they just called it "colloidal silver" or "millimicron silver".

Oops! But I imagine that whatever setback this may be for the anti-nanotechnology crowd they will quickly rebound when one considers that one of the loudest voices for a moratorium on nanotechnology can blissfully write an article in praise of Ned Ludd and that argues that the governance and regulation of science and technology is best handed over to the “wisdom of the crowds”.

Funny, in the crowds that I have been in or witnessed from afar I have never seen anything that even remotely appears to be wisdom.

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Nanoclast

IEEE Spectrum’s nanotechnology blog, featuring news and analysis about the development, applications, and future of science and technology at the nanoscale.

 
Editor
Dexter Johnson
Madrid, Spain
 
Contributor
Rachel Courtland
Associate Editor, IEEE Spectrum
New York, NY
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