New Home for NanoEHS News - Vireo Advisors new website!

New Home for NanoEHS News - Vireo Advisors new website!

Welcome to the new Vireo Advisors Website ! Next week marks 3 years since I endeavored to launch Vireo Advisors.  It’s not just about James Ede’s sleek design, but this page is also the new home for the Nano EHS News.

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Upcoming Event! 2016 TechConnect World Innovation Conference & Expo

TechConnect World Innovation Conference

Find Vireo Advisors at the upcoming 2016 TechConnect World Innovation Conference May 22-25th, 2016 in Washington, DC. The event encompasses Nanotech2016, the worlds largest nanotechnology event and this year features a Nano and Microfibrillated Cellulose Program that focuses on the application and material aspects of these novel materials. Co-organized by World Nieh of the US Forest Service, presentations will be given by industry leaders such as Sean Ireland of Imerys,  Shaul Lapdot of Melodea, Kim Nelson of American Process Inc. and Vireo’s own Dr. Jo Anne Shatkin.  Jo Anne will be giving a talk entitled "Demonstrating the Safety of Cellulose Nanomaterials – High Performance Bio-Based Materials" on Wednesday May 25th at 11:55AM. The presentation will discuss the current efforts to establish safety determinations for CN in the U.S. and beyond with developments in regulatory policies for nanomaterials.

The full symposium program, including abstracts can be viewed here.


Registration open for the 4th Annual William K. Reilly Awards for Environmental Leadership.

The 4th Annual William K. Reilly Awards for Environmental Leadership are being held on Thursday March 31st at American University from 6:30-9:30PM.

Every year these awards, named in honor of one of the most respected leaders in U.S. environmental policy, recognize the accomplishments of outstanding environmental leaders who have demonstrated innovation and effective problem-solving while engaging diverse interests and encouraging future environmental leaders. The award ceremony will be honouring this years winners: Mindy Lubber and Bob Perciasepe with a keynote address given by speaker Felicia Marcus.

Vireo is a proud supporter of the Center for Environmental Policy at American University’s School of Public Affairs and we hope you can join us at the fourth annual William K. Reilly Awards for Environmental Leadership.

Attendance is free, but advanced registration is required. Register now.

Ten Days Left to Submit Your (nano) Commercialization Success Story!

Earlier this month, the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) asked the public to send in nanotechnology commercialization success stories. The goal is to gather examples that demonstrate how the National Nanotechnology Initiative’s investments and resources have been utilized in the successful transition of nanotechnology-based products from the lab to market over the last 15 years. The formal Request for Information (RFI) can be found in the Federal Register.

Help shape the NNI’s narrative by sending in your stories about technology transfer, job creation, spin-offs, partnerships, and other topics that will highlight how nanotechnology discoveries are finding their way into commercial products that benefit the Nation.

Submissions for the RFI are due February 29, 2016.

Imerys Announces Full Scale Production of FiberLean MFC


In a Press Release on February 16th, Imerys announced it has signed two commercial agreements with leading papermakers in Asia and the United States for production of FiberLean MFC, a mineral/micro-fibrillated cellulose (MFC) composite produced using a novel manufacturing technique. Imerys is planning on-site production plants for both papermakers, with a combined capacity for MFC of 8,000 metric tonnes annually. This now positions Imerys as one of the largest commercial suppliers of MFC in the world. The application of FiberLean MFC in paper and packaging offer producers the benefit of improved quality and strength for their products, while reducing cost

FiberLean MFC was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for food packaging applications as a food contact substance in paper and paperboard. The approval demonstrates its safety for such uses, as well as Imerys’ commitment to the responsible and safe development of its products.

To learn more about FiberLean, click here.

To read the full press release, click here.

To learn more about how Vireo Advisors can assist in demonstrating the safety of your products to ensure commercial success, contact us.

Request Made for Nanotechnology Commercialization-Success Stories

The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a statement on the Whitehouse blog about a recent request for information (RFI) on examples of commercialization success stories arising from Federal investments in nanotechnology research & development.

Since the inception of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) in 2001, the U.S. government has invested more than 22 billion in nanotechnology research.  The NNCO and OSTP released this RFI to gather information about how these resources have been utilized to transition nanotechnology to the commercial market.

If you or your company have successfully commercialized a nanotechnology-enabled product you are strongly encouraged to reply to the RFI, especially if your success was in part enabled by Federal funding through a research grant or contract, collaboration with a scientist or engineer at a Federal lab, access to one of nanotechnology user-facilities, or based intellectual property arising from Federally funded R&D.

To submit your example of commercialization success stories stemming from U.S. Government-funded nanotechnology research and development click here. The deadline is February 29th, 2016.

Learn More:

Nominate your colleagues, mentors and friends for the William K. Reilly Environmental Leadership Awards

Sponsored by the Center for Environmental Policy at American University’s School of Public Affairs.  The Reilly Awards recognize individuals in the government, private, and non-profit sectors who have contributed to innovation in environmental and energy policy, engaged diverse stakeholders, and helped develop future environmental leaders. Please click here to learn about past awardees.

The Reilly Awards will be presented on Thursday, March 31, 2016, on the American University campus in Washington, DC. In addition to the awards, graduate student scholarships  will be awarded and a keynote address will be delivered by Felicia Marcus, Chair of the California State Water Resources Board.

To submit a nomination for the William K. Reilly Environmental Leadership Awards, please click here.  Nominations are due November 6, 2015 (and only take about 10 minutes to complete).

Thank you in advance for your nominations and please save the date for the Reilly Awards on March 31, 2016.

For questions about the awards or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Danielle Miller Wagner at

Vireo’s Analysis of Comments Submitted to the US EPA’s Proposed “Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements for Nanoscale Chemical Substances in the Marketplace”

he EPA closed its public comment period on August 5th, 2015 for its initial proposal to require one-time reporting and recordkeeping information from manufacturers of nanoscale materials including: specific chemical identity, production volume, manufacturing and processing methods, exposure and release information, and existing data on environmental and health effects.

Analysis of EPA

Sixty nine comments were received from industry, private individuals, business associations, academia, NGOs, and other organizations, including Vireo Advisors. More than forty of the 69 comments on EPA’s proposed TSCA Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements rule for nanoscale materials were from industry, associations and industrial partners. Nine not-for-profit (NFP) organizations submitted comments on TSCA’s proposed rule, including six non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and two state government agenciesunanimously supporting reporting and recordkeeping requirements by the EPA for nanoscale materials.

Many commenters expressed concerns about the vague definition a ‘reportable chemical substance’ including definition of ‘unique and novel’ characteristics. EPA proposes defining a reportable chemical substance as ‘a chemical substance that is solid at 25 °C and atmospheric pressure that is manufactured or processed in a form where the primary particles, aggregates, or agglomerates are in the size range of 1–100 nm and exhibit unique and novel characteristics or properties because of their size.’ Some NGOs noted the possibility of manufacturers and processors taking advantage of the ambiguous definition to avoid reporting, and prefer the definition be based solely on size. More than half of industry comments addressed the definition of ‘reportable chemical substances’, and highlighted issues with the terms “unique and novel”, “particle”, “enhanced properties”, “trace amounts”, “film”, “coating”, and “aggregates and agglomerates”. NGOs would also like clarity or changes regarding the definition of ‘reportable substance’ – for example, explanation of the phrase ‘trace amounts’ and ‘release information’.

Industrial commenters sought EPA’s rationale for choosing ‘seven times the standard deviation of the mean’ approach of distinguishing discrete forms and further commented that no available methods are available to consistently and reliably measure the suggested properties. There were numerous calls for better and more specific guidance on the issue. Most NGOs would like to see the inclusion of a wider range of discrete forms and materials. Two NGOs suggested using a 10% change would be more sensitive than the proposed ‘seven times the standard deviation of the mean’ approach of distinguishing discrete forms. Several also suggested that a change in any of the 3 factors should trigger separate reporting.

One area of dissent between NFPs and industry was EPA’s proposal to exempt nanoclays, nanofilms, and nano ZnO. Whereas most NGOs did not support the exemptions, twenty-six industry/association comments supported exemptions for zinc oxides, nanoclays and films, and/or requested exemptions for other materials, including: color pigments, articles, naturally occurring materials, polymer substances, nanoscale substances incorporated into a polymer matrix, all biological materials, TiO2, and carbon black, among others. 

Similarly, while several NGOs specifically support the 135 day review period, many industrial commenters opposed it over concerns about competitive disadvantages, negative signals to the public and the marketplace that nanoscale materials pose more risk, and concerns raised about exceeding the EPA’s statutory authority.

Finally, industry expressed concerns about the burden of collecting and reporting, and requested EPA revisit the exemption threshold, not include period reporting, and harmonize data collection with recent Canadian reporting rules (hyperlink here) as well as ensure no overlap between other required reporting, and narrowing the required reported information. EPA responses are not anticipated before calendar year 2016. 

Announcing Nominations Due for William K. Reilly Environmental Leadership Award

Once again it’s time to nominate your most innovative environmental leader. As a founding board member of the Center for Environmental Policy (Center) at American University (, I’ve been honored to serve on the nominations committee for the William K. Reilly Awards,  recognizing individuals in environmental careers who demonstrate the qualities of leadership, innovation, engagement of diverse interests, effective problem solving and contributions to future generations of environmental leaders. The Center has launched its third annual William K. Reilly Awards for Environmental Leadership Nominations are due January 9, 2015 and awards will be granted at American University on March 26, 2015. Two awards will be given—one for an individual in government (local, state, tribal or federal) and the other for an individual in the non-profit or business sector.  Details about the award and a link to the nomination form can be found here.

Also of note, The Centerjoined with corporate, philanthropic and nonprofit organizations to establish theWilliam K. Reilly Fund for Environmental Governance and Leadership. This initiative, in honor of one of the most respected environmental leaders in the nation, supports a student scholarship, an annual lecture series and core program development activities for the center.

Dear Graduates, psst. The word is nanocellulose – the 21st Century version of plastics

At Vireo Advisors, we are pleased to be working on commercialization of a high performing version of the earth’s most abundant material, cellulose. The attached article identifies market applications from cellulose nanomaterials in the millions of tons, which could help us better manage forests, as well as product footprint.  Nanocellulose is derived from trees, biomass, bacteria, tunicates, waste, and it can be reused, recycled or composted. Enabled by nanotechnology, renewable and sustainable materials can save energy and materials, overcoming inefficiencies in manufacturing.

Innovation toward more bio-based, environmentally friendly products is a growing trend, influencing business decisions and corporate investment globally. Not a fad; safer and more sustainable product development is a growing segment. As a renewable, low toxicity and biodegradable material that can displace petroleum-based packaging, metallic components, and other non-renewable materials, cellulose nanomaterials represent an important niche for more sustainable product design and development. The potential for structural color applications, as in the Blue Morpho butterfly wing, increases market opportunities.

Innovation drivers of sustainability: Consumers demand transparency in products, seeking to understand the types and sources of ingredients, and better packaging for them. Companies are increasingly required to report environmental performance to their customers and supply chain partners. Sustainability reporting drives companies toward better performance on energy, water and material consumption, natural resource depletion, and impacts on climate as progress toward targeted goals. The trend toward lightweighting, or reducing the weight of packaging, saves cost and fuel, a “triple bottom line” win that also decreases air pollution. Reducing energy, water and material consumption in product manufacturing, which lowers costs and increases profitability. Concerns about end-of-life product impacts also drive public and consumer interest in reusable, recoverable, compostable and recyclable packaging to lower overall life-cycle impacts.

Further, consumers also demand safety from products, and the trend of “red-listing” substances over concerns about adverse health impacts drives companies toward safer alternatives. Several plastic additives or precursors have been targeted over the years by governmental and non-governmental organizations over potential impacts. Regardless of whether third party claims made about toxicity are valid, the perception that they may be creates demand for ingredients with lower impacts.