[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 127 (Monday, July 2, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 39236-39238]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-16137]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[FRL- 6560-50-P 9659-9; Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-2012-0512]


Nanomaterial Case Study: A Comparison of Multiwalled Carbon 
Nanotubes and Decabromodiphenyl Ether Flame-Retardant Coatings Applied 
to Upholstery Textiles

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice of Public Comment Period and Public Information Exchange 
Meeting.

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SUMMARY: EPA is announcing a 60-day public comment period for the 
external review draft document titled, ``Nanomaterial Case Study: A 
Comparison of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes and Decabromodiphenyl Ether 
Flame-Retardant Coatings Applied to Upholstery Textiles'' (EPA/600/R-
12/043A). The draft document is being issued by the National Center for 
Environmental Assessment (NCEA) within EPA's Office of Research and 
Development (ORD). It does not draw conclusions regarding potential 
environmental risks or hazards of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT); 
rather, it aims to identify what is known and unknown about MWCNT to 
support future assessment efforts. EPA is releasing this draft document 
for the purposes of public comment and peer review. This draft document 
is not final as described in EPA's information quality guidelines, and 
it does not represent and should not be construed to represent Agency 
policy or views. EPA will consider public comments it receives in 
accordance with this notice when finalizing the draft document. EPA is 
also announcing a Public Information Exchange Meeting to: (1) Receive 
comments and questions on the draft ``Nanomaterial Case Study: A 
Comparison of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes and Decabromodiphenyl Ether 
Flame-Retardant Coatings Applied to Upholstery Textiles;'' and (2) to 
provide information on the draft EPA nanomaterial case study and the 
workshop process that the draft document will be used in for 
identifying and prioritizing research gaps that could support future 
assessment and risk management efforts for MWCNT. This workshop process 
will be conducted independently by RTI International, a contractor to 
EPA.

DATES: The public comment period begins, July 2, 2012, and ends August 
31, 2012. Comments must be received on or before August 31, 2012.
    The Public Information Exchange Meeting on the draft EPA document 
``Nanomaterial Case Study: A Comparison of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes 
and Decabromodiphenyl Ether Flame-Retardant Coatings Applied to 
Upholstery Textiles'' will be held on October 29, 2012, beginning at 
8:30 a.m. and ending at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

ADDRESSES: The draft EPA document ``Nanomaterial Case Study: A 
Comparison of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes and Decabromodiphenyl Ether 
Flame-Retardant Coatings Applied to Upholstery Textiles'' is available 
primarily via the Internet on the NCEA home page under Recent Additions 
and the Data and Publications menus at http://www.epa.gov/ncea. A 
limited number of paper copies are available. For copies, contact 
Marieka Boyd by phone (919-541-0031), fax (919-541-5078), or email 
(boyd.marieka@epa.gov). If you are requesting a paper copy, please 
provide your name, your mailing address, and the document title,

[[Page 39237]]

``Nanomaterial Case Study: A Comparison of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes 
and Decabromodiphenyl Ether Flame-Retardant Coatings Applied to 
Upholstery Textiles.''
    Comments may be submitted electronically via http://www.regulations.gov, by mail, by facsimile, or by hand courier. Please 
follow the detailed instructions provided in the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this notice.
    The Public Information Exchange Meeting on the draft EPA document 
``Nanomaterial Case Study: A Comparison of Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes 
and Decabromodiphenyl Ether Flame-Retardant Coatings Applied to 
Upholstery Textiles'' will be held at the EPA facility in Research 
Triangle Park, North Carolina. The RTI Workshop will be held in the 
same location, following the Public Information Exchange Meeting. To 
attend the Public Information Exchange Meeting or observe the RTI 
workshop, register no later than October 15, 2012, by calling Ms. 
Kristin Smith at 919-541-6081, or by sending an email to 
ceananocarbon@rti.org. Space is limited, and reservations will be 
accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Please indicate whether 
you are interested in attending the EPA Public Information Exchange 
Meeting or observing the RTI International Workshop or both.
    Information on Services for Individuals with Disabilities: EPA 
welcomes public attendance at the Public Information Exchange Meeting 
and will make every effort to accommodate persons with disabilities. 
For information on access or services for individuals with 
disabilities, contact: Kristin Smith at 919-541-6081.
    Additional Information: For information on the docket or the public 
comment period, contact the Office of Environmental Information Docket; 
telephone: 202-566-1752; facsimile: 202-566-9744; or email: Docket_ORD@epa.gov. For technical information on the draft document, contact 
Dr. Christy Powers, National Center for Environmental Assessment; (MD 
B243-01), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, 
NC 27711; telephone: 919-541-5504; facsimile: 919-541-5078; or email: 
powers.christina@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Information About the Project/Document

    The draft document will be used in a workshop process that engages 
experts with diverse technical backgrounds (e.g., toxicology, polymer 
science, environmental fate, and transport) and sector perspectives 
(e.g., academia, industry, government, and nongovernment 
organizations). Experts will use the draft case study document to 
identify and prioritize research gaps that could support future 
assessment and risk management efforts for MWCNT using a structured 
decision process. This workshop process will be conducted by RTI 
International, an EPA contractor, and will utilize web-based tools to 
gather expert input prior to culminating in a face-to-face workshop 
convened by RTI International.
    The Public Information Exchange Meeting announced above will 
precede the workshop convened by RTI International. Following the 
conclusion of the Information Exchange Meeting, RTI International, a 
contractor to EPA, will conduct a separate meeting, the ``Nanomaterial 
Case Study Workshop Process: Identifying and Prioritizing Research for 
Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes,'' in the same location. This workshop 
will be conducted with a set of invited expert participants selected by 
RTI International and utilize a structured decision science process 
similar to the process used in previous workshops (e.g., http://www.epa.gov/osp/bosc/pdf/nano1005summ.pdf). The RTI workshop will use 
the draft EPA document ``Nanomaterial Case Study: A Comparison of 
Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes and Decabromodiphenyl Ether Flame-
Retardant Coatings Applied to Upholstery Textiles'' [External Review 
Draft] (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/
R-12/043A, 2012, (http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=244011) as a starting point for identifying and 
prioritizing possible research directions related to multiwalled carbon 
nanotubes. Although funded by EPA, the RTI workshop process is being 
conducted independently of EPA to comply with provisions of the Federal 
Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App. 2 [http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/laws/fed-advisory-committee]). The RTI workshop will 
be open to public observers.
    This draft document and structured workshop process is funded by 
EPA but is independently conducted by RTI International and follows 
previous efforts on engineered nanoscale materials (nanomaterials). 
Nanomaterials have often been described as having at least one 
dimension between 1 and 100 nanometers and frequently possessing 
unusual, if not unique, properties that arise from their small size. 
Like all technological developments, nanomaterials offer the potential 
for both benefits and risks. The assessment of such risks and benefits 
requires information, but given the emergent state of nanotechnology, 
much remains to be learned about the characteristics and effects of 
nanomaterials before such assessments can be accomplished.
    In its 2007 Nanotechnology White Paper (2007, p. 89), EPA included 
the following recommendations regarding the risk assessment of 
nanomaterials: (1) Develop case studies based on publicly available 
information on one or several intentionally produced nanomaterials, and 
from such case studies identify information gaps to help map areas of 
research that would support the risk assessment process; and (2) hold a 
series of workshops involving a substantial number of experts from 
several disciplines to assist in this process. In keeping with these 
recommendations, the National Center for Environmental Assessment 
(NCEA) in EPA's Office of Research and Development (ORD) prepared the 
Nanomaterial Case Studies: Nanoscale Titanium Dioxide in Water 
Treatment and in Topical Sunscreen [Final] (U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-09/057F, 2010, http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=230972), released in 
November 2010, and the Nanomaterial Case Study: Nanoscale Silver in 
Disinfectant Spray [External Review Draft] (U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-10/081, 2012).
    The two draft documents each supported a workshop: ``Nanomaterial 
Case Studies Workshop: Developing a Comprehensive Environmental 
Assessment Research Strategy for Nanoscale Titanium Dioxide'' on 
September 29-30, 2009, in Durham, North Carolina, and ``Nanomaterial 
Case Studies Workshop: Developing a Comprehensive Environmental 
Assessment Research Strategy for Nanoscale Silver'' on January 4-7, 
2011, in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. A summary of the 
workshops may be found at: http://www.epa.gov/osp/bosc/pdf/nano1005summ.pdf and http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/cfm/recordisplay.cfm?deid=226723 for nanoscale titanium dioxide and 
nanoscale silver, respectively. The summary documents provide 
information on the design and conduct of the workshops, noting that the 
Nanomaterial Case Studies Workshop for nanoscale titanium dioxide was 
held under the auspices of the EPA Board of Scientific Counselors 
(BOSC), an advisory committee of independent scientists and engineers 
established by

[[Page 39238]]

EPA to provide advice, information, and recommendations concerning 
practices and programs of ORD, including ORD's research planning 
process, in accordance with provisions of the Federal Advisory 
Committee Act and related regulations. In August 2010, the BOSC 
provided comments on the case studies workshop (http://www.epa.gov/osp/bosc/pdf/nano1008rpt.pdf).
    The case study documents are structured by the comprehensive 
environmental assessment (CEA) framework, to systematically organize 
information on the product life cycle, environmental fate, exposure-
dose, and impacts in humans, ecological receptors, and the environment. 
As noted above, CEA also includes a process component involving 
decision science methods, and this aspect of CEA was used in prior 
workshops to identify and prioritize research or information needed to 
assess nanoscale titanium dioxide and nanoscale silver, respectively.
    The nanomaterial case studies are intended to be used in the 
development and refinement of long-term research planning efforts for 
potential human health, ecological, and environmental risks. Such a 
comprehensive strategy is expected to develop in an evolutionary 
process reflecting adjustments and modifications as additional 
nanomaterials are considered and new information becomes available. To 
that end, the current case study on multiwalled carbon nanotubes 
(MWCNT) builds on previous efforts by incorporating a comparative 
perspective with conventional flame-retardant, decabromodiphenyl ether. 
This comparison is included to provide a relatively more robust data 
base that may help identify key data gaps for MWCNT related to future 
assessment and risk management efforts. It further provides a 
foundation for future efforts to identify risk[hyphen]related tradeoffs 
between a traditional material, such as decaBDE and a 
nano[hyphen]enabled product.

II. How To Submit Technical Comments to the Docket at 
www.regulations.gov

    Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-2012-
0512 by one of the following methods:
     www.regulations.gov: Follow the on-line instructions for 
submitting comments.
     Email: Docket_ORD@epa.gov.
     Fax: 202-566-9744.
     Mail: Office of Environmental Information (OEI) Docket 
(Mail Code: 28221T), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 
Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460. The phone number is 202-
566-1752.
     Hand Delivery: The OEI Docket is located in the EPA 
Headquarters Docket Center, EPA West Building, Room 3334, 1301 
Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC. The EPA Docket Center Public 
Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Public 
Reading Room is 202-566-1744. Such deliveries are only accepted during 
the docket's normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should 
be made for deliveries of boxed information. If you provide comments by 
mail or hand delivery, please submit three copies of the comments. For 
attachments, provide an index, number pages consecutively with the 
comments, and submit an unbound original and three copies.
    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-
2012-0512. Please ensure that your comments are submitted within the 
specified comment period. Comments received after the closing date will 
be marked ``late,'' and may only be considered if time permits. It is 
EPA's policy to include all comments it receives in the public docket 
without change and to make the comments available online at 
www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, 
unless a comment includes information claimed to be Confidential 
Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is 
restricted by statute. Do not submit information through 
www.regulations.gov or email that you consider to be CBI or otherwise 
protected. The www.regulations.gov Web site is an ``anonymous access'' 
system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact 
information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you 
send an email comment directly to EPA without going through 
www.regulations.gov, your email address will be automatically captured 
and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket 
and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic 
comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact 
information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you 
submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties 
and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to 
consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special 
characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or 
viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the 
EPA Docket Center home page at www.epa.gov/epahome/dockets.htm.
    Docket: Documents in the docket are listed in the 
www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some 
information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information 
whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other materials, 
such as copyrighted material, are publicly available only in hard copy. 
Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically 
in www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the OEI Docket in the EPA 
Headquarters Docket Center.

    Dated: June 25, 2012.
Darrell A. Winner,
Acting Director, National Center for Environmental Assessment.
[FR Doc. 2012-16137 Filed 6-29-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P