Monthly Archives: September 2010

Sludging through the nano lifecycle: Caution ahead

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

Researchers at Virginia Tech have identified and characterized silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) in the sewage sludge produced by an operating municipal wastewater treatment plant.  The study is notable in several respects:  It is the first time AgNPs have been detected in a field-scale study, one of a real-world operation representative of a real-world exposure scenario to boot.  It shows that silver can exist in wastewater treatment products as nanoparticles.  It indicates such particles may be most likely to partition to sludge under common treatment technologies.  And it suggests that silver may be chemically transformed in the course of wastewater treatment.

The study did not demonstrate that the AgNPs detected in the sludge originated from products containing such nanoparticles, as some news stories have suggested, although the authors indicate such a source “is likely.”  But the findings have important implications for nano safety nonetheless.  Read More »

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Voters say “I am Not a Guinea Pig”: New poll shows strong, deep, bipartisan support for comprehensive chemical safety overhaul

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

Today, the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition released the results of a poll conducted by the well-respected Mellman Group in key swing districts around the country.  It shows that Americans of all stripes and political persuasions overwhelmingly support a major overhaul of our nation’s chemical safety law.

A whopping 84% of likely voters say that “tightening controls” on chemicals is important, with 50% calling it “very important.”  That response includes 75% of Republicans and 82% of Independents.  When provided with a brief description of the reform proposals recently introduced into Congress, seven in 10 likely voters indicated they favor the legislation.

But here are the real kickers:  When given more detail about its specific provisions, support for the legislation went up significantly, from 71% to 82%.  And the largest increases in support were seen among Republicans (a 25% increase) and those in a household dependent on the chemical industry (22% increase).  Read More »

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State-level nano regulation: Yes, indeed, the industry “should have seen it coming” – it caused it!

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

I just read an interesting column by John DiLoreto, CEO of NanoReg, that appears online at Nanotechnology Now.  It’s titled “We Should Have Seen It Coming: States Regulating Nanotechnology.”  It nicely describes the important role states play in advancing environmental policy and regulation – especially when the feds are asleep at the wheel.  And it also gives a neat rundown of the various state actions aimed at nanomaterials that are underway.

But, search as I might, I couldn’t find a single acknowledgment in Mr. DiLoreto’s latest column – or in his earlier related column titled “What Drives the Regulation of Nanomaterials?” – of the role the nanotechnology industry itself played in bringing all of this on itself.

That’s quite an omission, in my view, given that the industry’s actions (or, more accurately, the lack thereof) played a central role in getting us to where we are (or, more accurately, aren’t) today on nanotechnology oversight.  That includes driving states to feel they had to step in to fill the federal void.   Read More »

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