By Amy Kraft
Posting in Food
With the use of nanotechnology expanding and evolving, regulators say more tests are required to ensure safety.
On Friday, FDA issued draft guidelines for food and cosmetics companies that want to use nanoparticles, which are measured in billionths of a meter, in their products. Under the guidelines, FDA will require food companies to provide more data to confirm the safety of packaging that uses nanotechnology. FDA also drafted suggestions for the use of such materials in cosmetics.
Nanoparticles may be able to penetrate the skin, or move between organs, with unknown health benefits.
"Understanding nanotechnology remains a top priority," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement. "FDA is strengthening the scientific tools and methods for evaluating food products, cosmetics, drugs and medical devices."
When companies started using nanoparticles in their packaging material, they were able to consider them as "generally recognized as safe," because nanotechnology manipulates materials that are already safe, just on a very small scale.
But, FDA said, "because materials in the nanoscale dimension may have different chemical, physical or biological properties from their larger components," the technology should be monitored.
That's especially important because the use of nanotechnology is growing and scientists believe it could one day be used in medicine.
"This is an emerging, evolving technology and we're trying to get ahead of the curb to ensure the ingredients and substances are safe," Dennis Keefe, director of FDA's office of food additive safety told AP.
The FDA will have a 90-day comment period on the proposals.
Photo via FDA
Apr 22, 2012
I thought that the quote from the Roiters article was a bit too hopeful. Why would there be an expectation of unknown benefits. Perhaps the author meant to write "unknown risks" or to put a positive (maybe) spin on it, "unknown impacts". Of course if Donald Rumsfeld had been the author, it would have read "unknown unknowns". My take on it, if I had been the author would have read "unintended consequences".
It is a good thing to study nano particles in regard to safety. Some nano particles are small enough to slip through cell walls in a body. Nano technology has some good potential but it also has potential to cause health problems along the line with asbestosis and black lung disease.