Prior posts have noted the significant potential for adverse human health impacts from nanoparticles. Prior posts have also noted that silver nanoparticles are used in many hundreds of commercial products for which claims are made about the antimicrobial properties of the silver nanoparticles present. Usually such claims imply disease and/or odor control "benefits" by killing or controlling microorganisms.
In a recent administrative enforcement action, EPA made manifest the extent to which it views such claims as illegal. WalkFit, LLC, WalkFit Platinum, LLC, and Ideal Products, LLC claimed in their instruction sheets and advertising materials that the products would kill, repel or control bacteria, fungi, or "germs" due to the presence of silver nanoparticles. EPA and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation noted that such claims are permitted only for registered pesticides, and that such products (containing silver nanoparticles) must be registered with EPA prior to sale. [For a discussion of FIFRA and its requirements, see http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/lfra.html.]
The parties agreed to pay $210,316 in civil penalties and to correct their claims.
Given the hundreds of products containing silver nanoparticles and making similar claims, one can expect extensive enforcement actions in the future.
Information about the administrative action can be found at http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/CC8BF8D3F4C6F5F385257D3200642A61.