Friends of the Earth sue FDA over nanomaterials regulation

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Friends of the Earth sue FDA over nanomaterials regulation

Related tags Regulation Nanotechnology Fda

Friends of the Earth along with half a dozen other US non-governmental organizations have filed suit against the FDA for its failure to regulate nanomaterials as requested in a petition to the FDA these groups filed in 2006.

That petition requested that the FDA take regulatory action under the US federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act with respect to nanomaterials products like sunscreens.

FOE spokesperson, Ian Illuminato told USA“We filed this lawsuit to push the FDA to abide by the law and do what’s right. That is, consider nanotechnology risks seriously.”

Our eighty-page petition documents the scientific evidence of nanomaterial risks stemming from their unpredictable toxicity and seemingly unlimited mobility​”, he added.

Nanomaterials on the market

According to the NGO, nanomaterials are already being used unlabelled in hundreds of consumer products including sunscreens and cosmetics.

Manufacturers are adding nanomaterials to sunscreens ostensibly to make sun-blocking ingredients like titaniumoxide and zinc oxide rubs on cosmetically clear instead of white​”, Illuminato reveals.

In Europe, nanomaterials were recommended to be treated as new chemicals and are subject to new safety assessments before being allowed in consumer products.

Yet, in the US none of the nano-cosmetics or nano-sunscreens on the market is subject to a premarket safety assessment by the FDA that would require special tests for effects unique to nanoscale ingredients, before being put on the shelves.

Possible solutions

Illuminato says that there are ways that products containing nanomaterials can be made safer. “Nano-ingredients in sunscreens should be classified as new chemicals; they should be regulated as new products and new ingredients that require premarket safety tests​.”

Governments should review industry data and approve the safety of these substances before commercialization is permitted​”, he concluded.

When approached on the subject, an FDA spokesperson told USA; “As a matter of policy FDA generally does not comment on pending litigation.​”

Related topics Regulation & Safety

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