The Environmental Protection Agency of USA has decided to regulate a large class of consumer items made with microscopic “nanoparticles” of silver, part of a new but increasingly widespread technology that may pose unanticipated environmental risks, a government official said.
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.
“We will be able to evaluate them and ensure that these products are not going to do damage to the aquatic environment,” said Jim Jones, director of the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs.
The decision will affect the marketing of high-tech odor-destroying shoe liners, food-storage containers, air fresheners, washing machines and a wide range of other products that contain tiny bacteria-killing particles of silver.
Nanosilver has also been added to bandages to speed healing. That use and others in which the particles are applied to the body are regulated not by the EPA but by the Food and Drug Administration – FDA, which is currently considering whether it needs new rules for nanoproducts.