April 1, 2015 (Washington, DC)—Center for Food Safety today commended the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for issuing an order to stop the sale of “BioStorm” and “NanoStrike,” two nano-silver based products from Nano Defense Solutions, Inc. that are being marketed by the company for use in hospitals and athletic facilities. The order, which also applies to any other products using the same formulation, comes just a week after EPA agreed to regulate novel nanomaterial pesticides as a result of a lawsuit filed by Center for Food Safety (CFS) in December.
“EPA is making good on its word to protect public health from unknown risks resulting from nano-silver products, but the agency still has a long way to go,” said Jaydee Hanson, senior policy analyst at Center for Food Safety. “We encourage EPA to continue issuing orders against these untested and unregulated products until stringent safety assessments can be performed by independent experts.”
Under federal pesticide law, products that contain a pesticide as an active ingredient must be registered with the EPA prior to distribution or sale and has been determined to not pose unreasonable risk when used according to the label directions. According to EPA, the company makes “unsubstantiated efficacy claims that BioStorm and NanoStrike are designed to swiftly eradicate all microorganisms and keep surfaces free of colonization for up to a full year”. Such public health claims can only be made on products that have been properly tested and are registered with the EPA.
“In its response to our lawsuit, EPA fundamentally acknowledged that nano-silver antimicrobial products should be regulated as new pesticides,” said George Kimbrell, senior attorney at Center for Food Safety. “This is an important step in safeguarding the public and is already having an immediate impact on the market.”
Nanomaterials are rapidly entering the consumer marketplace, including the food industry. Particles at the nano scale – 1/100,000th the width of a human hair – already can be found in items ranging from sandwich bags and cutting boards to paints and sunscreens. The same unique properties that make nanomaterials desirable to industry also raise unique health and environmental risks.
Nano-silver products are the overwhelmingly most incorporated nanomaterial in consumer products, commonly used as a powerful antimicrobial agent. CFS has identified over 400 nano-silver products on the market today. Because there are no labeling requirements for nano-scale products, many more likely have been commercialized.