On November 3-5, 2009, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) met to consider for the first time scientific issues related to the assessment of potential hazard and exposure associated with nanosilver and other nanometal pesticide products. This column briefly summarizes the discussion, and speculates on the
The decision to convene a SAP was motivated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) need to consider four applications pending at the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) seeking registration of products containing nanosilver-based active ingredients. The nanosilver products, which would take the form of textile additives, polymers, coatings, and/or plastics, would be used to protect a treated product from microorganisms or to impart antimicrobial activity to a treated material. They would be used in the same manner as some of currently registered silver products, including those used as materials preservatives and antimicrobial pesticides. Notably, many of the 110 currently registered silver-based products actually contain nanosilver.
Unmentioned in either the September 16, 2009, Federal Register notice announcing the public meeting or the SAP Background Document EPA prepared in connection with the meeting is a May 2008 petition submitted by the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) and others requesting, among other actions, that EPA classify nanosilver as a pesticide, require the registration under FIFRA of nanosilver products, and determine that nanosilver is a new pesticide that requires a new FIFRA pesticide registration.