Ah, regulatory science. On October 10th, the US Food and Drug Administration hosted a meeting looking for input on regulation of products implementing nanotechnology. Expert inputs abounded, running the gamut from heartily approving of the current regulatory environment, to saying the US government has “acted as a cheerleader and not as a regulator”…
“The success of nanotechnology will rely in large part on how FDA plays its regulatory role,” said Michael Taylor of the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health.
The key is to use science to weigh both the benefits and the risks of nanotechnology, said Matthew Jaffe of the U.S. Council of International Business. That’s a balance the FDA already seeks to strike in assessing other products.
“We believe the regulatory process that is in place is significant and adequate to address the issues before the FDA,” Jaffe said.
Kathy Jo Wetter, of the civil society organization ETC Group, told the FDA it was understaffed, underfunded and ill-equipped to deal with nanotechnology. Wetter said hundreds of nano products have already crept onto the market with little scrutiny.
“Unfortunately, so far the U.S. government has acted as a cheerleader and not as a regulator,” Wetter said.
Carolyn Cairns, a senior researcher at Consumers Union, told the FDA that nanomaterials should be regulated like any other new chemical substances and subjected to a full battery of tests before use.
Martin Philbert, a University of Michigan professor of toxicology, counseled the FDA to “avoid overregulation while remaining vigilant.”
While everyone does a great job of pointing out their opinions, no one’s really stated what they would specifically like to see changed. Watch this space to see how the FDA addresses the issue.
More from Andrew Bridges’ AP article…
More from the FDA’s Nanotech page…