Nanosilver Pesticide Loses FIFRA Approval

June 28, 2017

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has vacated the conditional registration of a product with a Nanosilver active ingredient under Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The panel abandoned the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) conditional registration due to the Agency’s failure to adequately support its finding that registration was in the public interest.

Conditional registrations under FIFRA

Under FIFRA, pesticide products may receive a conditional registration if EPA can determine 1) “the use of the pesticide during [the period of the conditional registration] will not cause any unreasonable adverse effect on the environment” and (2) that “use of the pesticide is in the public interest.” However, registrants may still be subject to further data and study requirements to support the conditional registration.

Silver v. nanosilver

Silver has long been used in pesticide and consumer products due to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. It is effective against infectious agents and works well as a materials' preservative. Many product manufacturers have recently started formulating products with nanosilver, which is simply particles of silver on the nanoscale level. Nanosilver still has antimicrobial properties, but because of its size and chemical properties, a smaller amount is used to achieve pesticide efficacy and there is the potential that less silver is released into the environment as a consequence.

Decision’s impact

In addition to EPA and the registrant of the product in question, the Ninth Circuit’s ruling affects distributors, manufacturers, and sellers of other products containing nanosilver that may also rely on conditional registrations and make similar antimicrobial claims. Actions may need to be taken to reformulate these products or revise claims.

How TSG can help

TSG’s Vice President Erin Tesch and Regulatory Consultant Abigail Wacek have substantial experience working with antimicrobial products that use nanoscale materials. They routinely review products and help companies understand the laws that govern their products. To speak with one of them, please email TSG at or call us at (202) 828-8990.

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