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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Nanotechnology' Category


12
Sep

Report Highlights Need to Assess Hazards of Nanotechnology

(Beyond Pesticides, September 12, 2008) Widespread use of nanoscale silver will challenge regulatory agencies to balance important potential benefits against the possibility of significant environmental risk, highlighting the need to identify research priorities concerning this emerging technology, according to a new report released this week by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN). However, existing information about the impact of silver on the environment offers a starting point for some assessments of nanosilver, the report argues. The issue of assessing the risks posed by nanoscale silver was highlighted after the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) San Francisco office earlier this year imposed a landmark fine of over $200,000 on a California company selling computer keyboards and mouses coated with nanosilver. EPA issued the fine on the grounds that the products should have been registered under federal pesticide law because of the company’s germ-killing claims. In May, a coalition of groups also petitioned that EPA regulate nano products as pesticides. Similar fines have not been imposed since, but the action is increasing attention on the potential risks posed by nanoscale silver and oversight of nanotechnology as a whole. There currently are more than 200 manufacturer-identified nanosilver products on the market and contained in […]

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02
May

Groups Petition EPA to Stop Sale of Nanosilver Products

(Beyond Pesticides, May 2, 2008) The International Center for Technology Assessment (CTA) and a coalition of consumer, health, and environmental groups, including Beyond Pesticides, yesterday filed a legal petition with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), demanding the agency use its pesticide regulation authority to stop the sale of  250+ consumer products now using nanosized versions of silver. The legal action is the first challenge to EPA’s failure to regulate nanomaterials. Increasingly, manufacturers are infusing a large and diverse number of consumer products with nanoparticle silver (“nanosilver”) for its enhanced “germ killing” abilities. Nanosilver is now the most common commercialized nanomaterial. CTA found over 260 nanosilver products currently on the market, ranging from household appliances and cleaners to clothing, cutlery, and children’s toys to personal care products and coated electronics. Yet as the legal petition addresses, the release of this unique substance may be highly destructive to natural environments and raises serious human health concerns. Last summer, a coalition of 40 organization called for much more comprehensive evaluation and regulation of nanomaterials, citing these concerns. “These nanosilver products now being illegally sold are pesticides,” said George Kimbrell, CTA nanotech staff attorney. “Nanosilver is leaching into the environment, where it will have […]

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30
Apr

Silver Nanoparticles Coming Out in Wash

(Beyond Pesticides, April 30, 2008) New research shows that socks impregnated with silver nanoparticles to keep them microbe and odor free, release these particles when washed. Once washed down the drain, the silver particles enter the environment where they may pose numerable unknown adverse effects. Researchers from Arizona State University report their findings in a study entitled; “Fate and transport of ionic and nanoparticle silver released from commercially available socks,” published in Environmental Science and Technology. Six commercial brands of nanosilver-treated socks were tested and their nanosilver content measured before and after wash. The socks were soaked in 1- or 24-hour-long wash cycles in distilled water without detergent to limit variables in the tests. One batch was soaked in tap water to simulate a more realistic washing.Using scanning and transmission electron microscopy, the remaining silver was analysed. Under the microscope, nanoparticles were found clumped together in the fabric, while some socks had tiny corkscrew-shaped nanosilver particles that stuck like burrs to the fabric, clinging more tightly than some simpler nanosilver forms. They found that socks had variable leaching rates, which suggests that the sock manufacturing process and how they are impregnated with silver may influence the release of silver. In […]

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14
Jan

IIT Scientists Use Nanoparticles To Filter Organochlorines from Water

(Beyond Pesticides, January 14, 2008) Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have developed nanoparticles that can remove organochlorine pesticides from drinking water. These chemicals are quite persistent in the environment and difficult to remove from water. Notorious organochlorines include DDT, endosulfan, HCH (hexacholorcyclohexane) and aldrin, all of which have known health and/or environmental hazards. Many of these chemical pesticides are used heavily in agriculture and taint India’s water. Though no comprehensive national survey has been done, isolated studies show contamination of groundwater and river systems that cannot be removed by standard water filters. “Even though some of these pesticides have been banned, they are very much present in the environment. For instance, endosulfan has an environmental lifetime of 100 years,” said Thalappil Pradeep, professor of chemistry at IIT Madras. He leads the research that has shown that nanoparticles, mostly from gold, silver, copper and several oxides, are effective at removing endosulfan even at very low concentration. “Efficient chemistry at low concentration is important so that even if one molecule of the pesticide passes by, it gets removed by the nanoparticle,” said Pradeep. He holds a US and an Indian patent and has licensed part of the technology […]

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26
Sep

Ion-Generating Equipment To Be Regulated as a Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, September 26, 2007) In a Federal Register Notice issued on September 21, 2007, the U.S. EPA clarified the distinction between devices and pesticides by stating that ion-generating equipment will now be regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) as a pesticide, if the equipment uses electrodes to emit ions (of silver or other substances) for pesticidal purposes. The notice outlines the timeline and process for manufacturers, sellers and other affected parties to come into compliance with the clarified requirements of FIFRA. In 2005, the EPA was made aware of equipment incorporating substances, such as silver and copper that, through the use of electrodes, release the ions of the substances for the purpose of preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating a pest (e.g., bacteria or algae). Since such devices incorporate substances that accomplish a pesticidal function, the agency has determined that they are to be considered a pesticide for the purposes of FIFRA and must therefore be registered prior to sale or distribution as outlined in the federal notice issued. Section 2(h) of FIFRA defines a device as “any instrument or contrivance (other than a firearm) which is intended for trapping, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.” […]

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23
Aug

Broad Coalition Calls for Nanotechnology Oversight, Principles Released

(Beyond Pesticides, August 23, 2007) With the joint release on July 31, 2007 of Principles for the Oversight of Nanotechnologies and Nanomaterials, a broad international coalition of 40 consumer, public health, environmental, and labor organizations called for strong, comprehensive oversight of the new technology and its products, citing risks to the public, workers and the environment. The manufacture of products using nanotechnology—a powerful platform for manipulating matter at the level of atoms and molecules in order to alter properties—has exploded in recent years. Hundreds of consumer products incorporating nanomaterials are now on the market, including cosmetics, sunscreens, sporting goods, clothing, electronics, baby and infant products, and food and food packaging. But evidence indicates that current nanomaterials can pose significant health, safety, and environmental hazards. In addition, the profound social, economic, and ethical challenges posed by nano-scale technologies have yet to be addressed. As Yoke Ling of the Third World Network explained, “Materials engineered to the nano-scale can exhibit fundamentally different properties—including toxicity—with unknown effects. Current research raises red flags that demand precautionary action and further study.” She added, “As there are now hundreds of products containing nanomaterials in commerce, the public, workers, and the environment are being exposed to these […]

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