If the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) stays on schedule, look for February to bring two proposed rules regarding nanomaterials. One proposed rulemaking would establish reporting requirements for certain nanoscale materials. The other proposal is a significant new use rule that would require persons who manufacture, import, or process new nanoscale materials based on chemical substances listed on the TSCA Inventory to notify the Agency at least 90 days before they make, import, or use that nanoscale chemical. Both were previewed in USEPA’s FY 2011 Regulatory Agenda.

Proposed Reporting of Nanoscale Materials under TSCA Section 8(a)

Under section 8(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), this month USEPA plans to propose reporting requirements for persons who are manufacturing, importing, or processing nanoscale materials in commerce. The rule would require these persons to notify USEPA of certain information including production volume, methods of manufacture and processing, exposure and release information, and available health and safety data. The proposed reporting of these activities would provide USEPA with an opportunity to evaluate the information and consider additional action under TSCA.

Proposed Significant New Use Rule

Also in February, USEPA intends to propose a significant new use rule (SNUR) under section 5(a)(2) of TSCA that would designate as a significant new use, any use of chemical substances as nanoscale materials after the proposed date of the rule. The SNUR would require persons who manufacture, import, or process new nanoscale materials based on chemical substances listed on the TSCA Inventory to submit a notice to the Agency at least 90 days before commencing that activity. The SNUR would identify existing uses of nanoscale materials based on information submitted under the Agency's voluntary Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program and other information. The required notification would provide USEPA with the opportunity to evaluate the intended use and, if necessary, to prohibit or limit that activity before it occurs to prevent any unreasonable risks to human health or the environment.