Minneapolis based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy is one of a half dozen groups that sued the Food and Drug Administration this week over regulation of nanotechnology.
In the complaint, the groups allege the FDA failed to respond to a 2006 petition for regulation of nanotechnology.
The lawsuit asks the Federal District court to order the FDA to move forward with developing regulatory rule making for nanotechnology.
The lawsuit, filed in a California Federal Court, says consumer products like cosmetics and sunscreen containing nano particles are already widely used by consumers, but FDA has failed to address risks from the nano materials.
IATP Policy Analyst Steve Suppan says FDA should also regulate the developing use of nano particles in food packaging. Reporter Andrew Schneider, in a series done for AOL news last year, documented produce shipped to the U.S. from other countries with nano material coatings applied to prolong shelf life. But IATP analyst Steve Suppan says since FDA doesn’t regulate the nano material, there is no product labeling.
Suppan says consumers should be able to count on scientific proof the nano materials are safe.
“Otherwise, there will be no basis for consumer confidence except for the agencies and companies ‘ just say trust us we know what we’re doing.’ There’s obviously lots of instances where they’ve said that before which did not prove to protect consumers.”
Suppan says the goal of the lawsuit is to force FDA to begin the process of regulating nano materials used in consumer products which it has authority to regulate.
An FDA spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
Nano materials are made by engineering common materials like silver or titanium dioxide at the molecular level. The tiny particles change the properties of the material as explained in this story I reported last year.
Scientists appear to be somewhat divided over the potential effects of these nano materials.