WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) today said they are pleased the Senate approved their legislation to address potential health and safety risks of products regulated by the FDA that contain nanomaterials. The provision is part of the FDA Safety and Innovation Act, which passed the Senate by a vote of 96-1.
“Nanotechnology has become increasingly indispensable in our daily lives but as this burgeoning technology continues to power more of our consumer products and drive job creation in America, it is essential that we fully assess, understand and address any risks that nanotechnology may pose to safety, public health and our environment,” Cardin said. “The high-tech infrastructure at the consolidated headquarters at White Oak provides the FDA with an opportunity for innovation to meet challenges in nanotechnology product safety.”
The measure mirrors legislation they introduced last year, the Nanotechnology Regulatory Science Act of 2011, to establish a regulatory science program within the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to assess the health and safety of nanomaterials in drugs, medical devices and over-the-counter consumer products such as cosmetics, sunscreens and food additives. The bill requires the FDA to enhance the scientific knowledge regarding products containing nanomaterials, to address issues relevant to the regulation of those products, including the potential toxicology of such nanomaterials, and evaluate the effects of such nanomaterials on biological systems
The FDA already has facilities in place, such as the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) in Jefferson, AR, and its consolidated headquarters at White Oak, Maryland, that could conduct the scientific studies required under the bill. Both locations currently provide the FDA with innovative scientific technology, training, methods development, and technical expertise to improve public health.
“The NCTR plays a vital role in ensuring food and products in our home are safe,” Pryor said. “Its expertise, combined with its strong partnerships with researchers in government, the private sector, and academia, makes it an ideal candidate to lead our nation’s nanotechnology health and safety studies.”
There are over 800 known commercial uses of nanotechnology and over 1,300 consumer nanotechnology products available. In 2010, the National Science Foundation estimated new nanotechnology-based products would contribute 2 million jobs and $1 trillion dollars in revenue to the world’s economy by 2015.