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Court revokes US EPA approval of nanosilver product

Date: 19/6/2017

A California federal appeals court has revoked the US EPA's conditional approval of a product containing nanosilver because it could not confirm that its use was in the public interest.

The agency had temporarily registered the product "Nanosilva" under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticides Act (Fifra), arguing that it had the potential to reduce the amount of silver released into the environment. Nanosilva is an antimicrobal materials preservative used in a range of plastic products such as furniture, shower curtains, wall coverings and sportswear.

Fifra allows temporary registrations where products do not have enough supporting data to determine their long-term use is safe. But the EPA must first agree that use of the product is in the public interest.

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that the agency's conditional approval of Nanosilva was based on two "unsubstantiated assumptions": first, that current users of conventional-silver pesticides would replace those pesticides with Nanosilva; and second, that Nanosilva would not be incorporated into new products to the extent that such incorporation would actually increase the amount of silver released into the environment.

The panel concluded that without evidence in the record to support the assumptions, it could not find that the EPA’s public-interest finding was supported by substantial evidence as required by the Act.

Meanwhile, the court agreed with the EPA's findings that Nanosilva uses less silver and is less likely to release it into the environment than conventional silver biocides.

The EPA's arguments were disputed by the three NGOs who mounted the legal challenge to the EPA's conditional approval of Nanosilva, in 2015. They had argued that the increased toxicity of nanosilver outweighs any benefits gained from a lower application rate.

Further information on the court ruling is available here.

Source: BiocidesHub

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4 µm is the median aerodynamic diameter of particles that fall within the respirable size range.