EPA Seeking Public Comment on New Registration for Textile Preservative

March 12, 2020

The US Environmental Protection Agency has made a preliminary finding that NSPW Nanosilver, the proposed active ingredient of POLYGUARD-NSPW MASTER BATCH, meets federal standards for use as a textile preservative. The EPA is now requesting comments by March 13 on the proposed registration and the agency’s findings.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced a request for public comment on a new proposed registration to incorporate a pesticide product, POLYGUARD-NSPW MASTER BATCH, into textiles. If approved, the product will be incorporated into finished textiles, and will control the growth of odor-causing bacteria, mildew, mold, fungus, and algae. It will also prevent deterioration, staining, and discoloration of the textile products.

The new proposed active ingredient in the product is NSPW Nanosilver, which the EPA has preliminarily determined meets Federal Insecticide Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) standards for use as a textile preservative. Nanosilver is already widely used in a number of products, given its antimicrobial qualities. The EPA has requested public comment on the proposed registration and its preliminary findings by March 13, 2020.

FIFRA regulates the use and sale of pesticide products, and requires that all pesticides be registered with the EPA prior to sale or distribution in the United States.[1] The EPA has authority to grant conditional registrations, which are temporary, if it decides that use of a pesticide product is in the public interest. Generally, in order to register a product, applicants must provide the EPA with data related to the product’s impacts on the environment, health, and safety. Importantly, applicants must show that the product will not cause “unreasonable adverse effects on the environment,”[2] which are defined under FIFRA as “(1) any unreasonable risk to man or the environment, taking into account the economic, social, and environmental costs and benefits of the use of any pesticide, or (2) a human dietary risk from residues that result from a use of a pesticide in or on any food inconsistent with the standard under section 346a of Title 21.”[3]

Temporary, conditional registration is also available under FIFRA. If the data submitted to the EPA demonstrates that short-term use of a pesticide may be reasonable, the EPA has discretion—even though the long-term consequences remain unknown—to grant conditional registration on a temporary basis, as long as it concludes the product “will not cause any unreasonable adverse effect on the environment, and that use of the pesticide is in the public interest.”[4]

The EPA already granted a conditional registration for NSPW Nanosilver in 2015, for incorporation of the active ingredient into both textile and plastic products. The original conditional registration was therefore much broader than the conditional registration currently sought, which only includes incorporation into textiles. The previous conditional registration included a number of products like vacuums, trash cans, linens, and exercise equipment, as long as they were not designed for contact with food or drinking water. It took over six years from the time the application was submitted for the EPA to grant the previous conditional registration, demonstrating how time-consuming the FIFRA registration process can be. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ultimately overturned the EPA’s grant, however, finding that evidence in the record was insufficient to support the EPA’s finding that the product’s use was in the public interest.


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[1] 7 U.S.C. §§136 et seq.

[2] 7 U.S.C.§ 136a(c)(5)

[3] 7 U.S.C.A. § 136(bb).

[4] 7 U.S.C. § 136a(c)(7)(C).