Nanotech Growth Means Shrinking Window For Enacting Effective Regulation
This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet
Ground rules on regulating the use of nanoscale materials in dietary supplements and other consumer products are urgently needed with the nascent technology exploding in the marketplace, a former FDA executive says
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Vitamins, supplements and other health and fitness products dominate the landscape of nano-engineered consumer products, according to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, a program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
The National Nanotechnology Initiative lacks "an overarching research strategy" and overlooks the "lack of studies on how to manage consumer and environmental risks" caused by nanomaterial exposure through consumer products, the nonprofit National Research Council says Dec. 10. A report by NRC's Committee on Review of the Federal Strategy to Address Environmental, Health and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials recommends a "robust national strategic plan" with a broad spectrum of research from academia, industry and consumer and environmental advocates. In a same-day release, Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn., chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology, says his committee plans to reintroduce the National Nanotechnology Initiative Amendments Act in the new Congress. The bill, which passed the House in June but faltered in the Senate, is "aimed at correcting weaknesses in the federal research program" by setting research goals and multi-year funding requirements, Gordon says (1"The Tan Sheet" June 23, 2008, p. 11)
A Consumers Union report billed as an exposé of nano-engineered sunscreens that are marketed as nanotech-free may signal a need not for FDA's intervention but for industry to take the lead in educating consumers on nanotechnology