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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Nanotechnology' Category


18
Nov

New Finding Says Glyphosate (Roundup) not Carcinogenic? Not so Fast

(Beyond Pesticides, November 18, 2015) Last week, the European Union’s (EU) European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) announced its determination that the popular herbicide glyphosate is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.” This is in direct contrast with findings released  earlier this year by  the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which classified glyphosate a ”˜probable carcinogen.’  However, these seemingly conflicting conclusions from these premier scientific agencies are put into perspective by knowing that EFSA’s report is limited in that it reviewed glyphosate alone, unlike IARC which reviewed glyphosate and its formulated products (Monsanto’s Roundup) which are more relevant for evaluating risks to human health. In light of the March 2015 IARC findings —listing glyphosate as a probable carcinogen due to  sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity  based on laboratory studies, the European Commission requested EFSA consider glyphosate’s potential carcinogenicity. In its report released November 12, 2015, EFSA concludes that “glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans and the evidence does not support classification with regard to its carcinogenic potential..” However, the agency notes that there are “several reasons explaining the diverging views” from IARC’s earlier conclusion. The most important difference is that […]

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26
Mar

EPA Agrees to Regulate Novel Nanotechnology Pesticides after Legal Challenge

(Beyond Pesticides, March 26, 2015) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has agreed to regulate novel nanomaterial pesticides as a result of a lawsuit filed by Center for Food Safety (CFS) and joined by Beyond Pesticides in December. In 2008, a coalition of more than 13 organizations filed a legal petition requesting, among other things, that EPA recognize the risks associated with a growing class of nano-silver consumer products and regulate them as new pesticides. After EPA had failed to respond to the petition for six years, in December 2014 some of the petitioner groups sued the agency to force it to respond. That lawsuit succeeded on Friday, with EPA issuing a 23-page response. “We are gratified that EPA has now fundamentally acknowledged that, with regard to both the legal and scientific evidence, nano-silver antimicrobial products must be regulated as new pesticides,” said George Kimbrell, senior attorney at Center for Food Safety. “This is an important step in safeguarding the public.” Nanotechnology is a platform technology for manipulating materials at the atomic and molecular level; manufactured nanomaterials are so small that they cannot be seen with an ordinary microscope. Yet, “nano” means more than just tiny; it means materials that have […]

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18
Dec

Lawsuit Challenges EPA’s Failure to Regulate Nanomaterial Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, December 18, 2014) Beyond Pesticides joined Center for Food Safety (CFS) in filing a lawsuit late Tuesday against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the agency’s failure to regulate novel nanomaterial pesticides. In 2008 more than 13 organizations  filed a legal petition demanding the agency take action on this nanomaterial issues. Tuesday’s lawsuit challenges the agency for its failure to answer their petition while the proliferation of nanomaterials in consumer products continues unabated. “It is unfortunate that it takes a lawsuit to get EPA to carry out its responsibility to regulate nano-silver for its toxic pesticidal properties and broad exposure patterns through consumer and personal care products,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “Like any toxic pesticide, nano-silver must be subject to the full force of the law and label restrictions intended to protect people’s health and the environment,” Mr. Feldman said. Nanotechnology is a platform technology for manipulating materials at the atomic and molecular level; manufactured nanomaterials are so small that they cannot be seen with an ordinary microscope. For comparison, a strand of human hair is 50,000 to 80,000 nanometers wide. Yet “nano” means more than just tiny; it means materials that have […]

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03
Apr

EPA Issues Stop Sale Order for Food Containers Laced with Nanosilver Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, April 3, 2014) A food container production company in New Jersey is finding out that the smallest of ingredients can have big implications for public health. Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it had issued a stop sale order to Pathway Investment Corp., manufacturer of Kinetic Go Green Premium Food Storage Containers and Kinetic Smartwist Series Containers. In addition to the order sent to Pathway, the EPA has also issued warning letters to Amazon, Sears, Wal-Mart and other large retailers directing them not to sell these products. The reason for the order: nanosilver””an extremely small particle of silver that has been added to consumer products of all kinds during the last decade to combat bacteria, mold, and other microorganisms. Because of nanosilver’s properties, it is considered a pesticide and active ingredient under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the primary federal law governing pesticide use in the United States. Under FIFRA, any product containing an active ingredient that acts as a pesticide must be registered with EPA. For public health claims associated with pesticide use, EPA requires manufacturers to show that the product  performs as intended and does not  pose “unreasonable” […]

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14
Nov

Court Suspends Nanosilver Pesticide Use in Clothing, Cites EPA’s Improper Approval

(Beyond Pesticides, November 14, 2013) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on November 7 said that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had improperly approved the use of nanosilver by one U.S. textile manufacturer. The decision came in response to Natural Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC) lawsuit against EPA to limit the use of nanosilver out of a concern for public health. The court agreed with a key point NRDC raised –EPA did not follow its own rules for determining whether the pesticide’s use in products is safe. The court vacated the approval and sent it back to the agency for reevaluation. “The court’s ruling puts us a step closer toward removing nanosilver from textiles,” said Mae Wu, an attorney in NRDC’s Health Program. “EPA shouldn’t have approved nanosilver in the first place. This is just one of a long line of decisions by the agency treating people and our environment as guinea pigs and laboratories for these untested pesticides.” Beginning in December 2011, EPA issued a registration to HeiQ Materials for   nanosilver used in fabrics and required the company to provide data on toxicity for human health and aquatic organisms within four years. In early 2012, […]

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11
Sep

GAO Report Questions Adequacy of EPA’s Conditional Pesticide Registration System

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2013) In a report released Monday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s use and oversight of conditional registrations is lacking and unreliable. Conditional registration allows pesticides onto the consumer market without all the required data to assess the chemical’s safety. This has created many serious human and environmental health problems, including bee decline, tree death and potential increases in human health risks. GAO recommends that EPA better track conditional registrations, however, Beyond Pesticides and other concerned groups urge the agency to cancel registrations until all relevant data is submitted and reviewed. According to the findings of the GAO’s report, EPA’s system for tracking pesticides with conditional registration is unreliable and thus, the total number of conditional registrations granted is unclear.   This lack of a reliable system for managing conditional registrations constitutes an ”˜internal control weakness’ because the agency lacks an effective mechanism for program oversight and decision making, according to federal internal control standards cited by GAO. The report states, “The extent to which EPA ensures that companies submit additional required data and EPA reviews these data is unknown. Specifically, EPA does not have a reliable system, such […]

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27
Aug

Study Reveals Toxic Nanoparticles Persist in Food

(Beyond Pesticides, August 27, 2013) A new study by scientists at the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources is shedding light on the persistence of nanopesticides in our food. Researchers focused their attention on silver nanoparticles (nanosilver), a substance that has been linked to environmental harm, bacterial resistance, and not fully understood impacts on human health. Scientists say their findings represent a reliable method of testing foods for the harmful particles and hope to more broadly implement their technique in the future. The last decade has witnessed a large influx in the use of nanotechnology in consumer products, including food, clothing, cosmetics, fertilizers, and pesticides. The growth of this technology has elicited strong reactions from scientists across the globe, with many asserting that further research is urgently needed to evaluate the potential impacts of these novel substances. As Mengshi Lin, Ph.D, associate professor at the University of Missouri (MU) and co-author of the study states, “More than 1,000 products on the market are nanotechnology-based products. This is a concern because we do not know the toxicity of the nanoparticles. Our goal is to detect, identify and quantify these nanoparticles in food and food products and study […]

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23
Jul

Nanoparticles in Athletic Wear: Don’t Sweat It?

(Beyond Pesticides, July 23, 2013) When shopping for sportswear nowadays, you might notice the stickers or tags on some clothing items touting the apparel as “antimicrobial.” What’s not mentioned on those tags, however, is the point that these antimicrobials, often titanium dioxide or silver nanoparticles (nanosilver), are largely untested, and recent studies are revealing that these substances could seep into a person’s sweat and end up being absorbed through one’s skin. Lead researcher of the study published in Environmental Science and Technology, Natalie von Gotz, Ph.D,, found that some pieces of clothing released significant amounts of nanosilver. Manufacturers are adding nanoparticles to clothing in order to tout their ability to block UV rays (titanium dioxide) or prevent mold and smells (nanosilver) on clothing. However, the long-term impacts of this new technology to human health and the environment are still unknown. There are concerns about the ability of nanomaterial to travel through the human body and damage brain, liver, stomach, testes and other organs, as well as pass from mother to fetus, according to a recent Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report. Laundering these products ultimately washes them into our environment because sewage treatment plants are not set up to filter […]

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25
Apr

New Report Calls Into Question the Use of Nanomaterials in Our Food Chain

(Beyond Pesticides, April 25, 2013) A new report by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) finds that nanomaterials added to soil via fertilizers and treated sewage waste used to fertilize fields could threaten soil health necessary to keep land productive. The report, Nanomaterials in Soil: Our Future Food Chain?, draws attention to the delicate soil food chain, including microbes and microfauna, that enable plant growth and produce new soil. Laboratory experiments have indicated that sub-molecular nanoparticles could damage beneficial soil microbes and the digestive systems of earthworms, essential engineers in maintaining soil health. Other recent peer-reviewed scientific research showcasing potentially negative impacts of nano-fertilizers on public health and the food supply has been documented. Last month, Duke University published research which finds that low concentrations of silver nanoparticles in sewage sludge can cause significant disruptions to natural ecosystems. In February, a Dutch study revealed the harmful effects of silver imbued sewage sludge on earthworm health. “In light of published research, the Obama administration should institute an immediate moratorium on fertilizing with biosolids from sewage treatment plants near nanomaterial fabrication facilities. A moratorium would give researchers time to determine whether nanomaterials in soil can be made safe and to […]

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28
Mar

Report Exposes the Flaws in EPA’s Pesticide Approval Process

(Beyond Pesticides, March 28, 2013) A scathing new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sheds much needed light on the flaws in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) pesticide approval process, noting that in terms of the agency’s ability to offer transparency and rigorously test these inherently toxic chemicals, “the public’s trust is misplaced.” The recent lawsuit brought about by a coalition of beekeepers, consumer, and environmental groups, including Beyond Pesticides, emphasizes the harm resulting from EPA’s  abuse of the statutory  “conditional registration” program.  Through this program,  EPA has  allowed  the wide and growing use of the systemic neonicotinoid pesticides that are  linked to the dramatic decline in honey bee health and viability of honey bee colonies. A startling number of pesticides, nearly 65% of the more than 16,000 pesticides now on the market, were first approved by the process of “conditional registration,” a loophole in which EPA allows new pesticides on the market without the full range of legally mandated toxicity tests. NRDC accuses EPA of misusing the conditional registration process, and their assertions are by no means unfounded. The report cites EPA’s own 2004-2010 internal analysis that ultimately determined the agency had misused the provision “98 percent […]

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05
Mar

Silver Nanoparticles in Sewage Sludge Found to Disrupt Ecosystems

(Beyond Pesticides, March 5, 2013) Low concentrations of silver nanoparticles can cause significant disruptions to natural ecosystems, find scientists at Duke University. This research, published in the journal PLOS ONE, provides a “real-world” look at the effects of this increasingly ubiquitous material in our environment. Although nanotechnology may have  great potential to provide critical breakthroughs in medicine and electronics, one specific material, silver nanoparticles or nanosilver, is particularly suspect in terms of human and environmental health due to its antimicrobial properties and a lack of thorough testing. Nanosilver is found in a  wide range of consumer products, including sun screen, children’s toys and pacifiers, toothpaste, and disinfectants. After the material is used, it often makes its way down our drains and into our wastewater treatment plants. Because of the material’s small size, treatment plants are unable to filter out the nanosilver. This causes them to be concentrated in the wastewater treatment plant’s sewage sludge, which is subsequently dried and marketed as a fertilizer under the innocuous label “biosolids.” Sewage sludge represents the primary pathway for nanosilver’s entry into our environment, as an estimated 60% of the average 5.6 million tons of biosolids produced each year in the U.S. are land […]

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05
Feb

Nanoparticles Found To Be Toxic to Earthworms

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2013) Although nanoparticles are increasingly added to a wide range of consumer products, very little is known about the potential risks these materials pose to the health of our environment. A study by the Dutch research institute Alterra looked at the effects of nanoparticles on earthworms, revealing the ability of nanomaterials to cause significant harm to the beneficial organisms. Earthworms are excellent indicators of soil health, and provide vitally important ecosystem services by aerating the soil, cycling nutrients, and increasing microbial activity. The Alterra study, led by Doctoral candidate Merel van der Ploeg, compared the health and growth of earthworms in soil containing carbon and silver nanoparticles at varying amounts with worms in regular soil. Mr. Van der Ploeg found the soil containing nanoparticles reduced reproduction, slowed growth, and increased the mortality rate of exposed earthworms. Young worms are particularly sensitive to the effects of the nanomaterial. Mr. Van der Ploeg notes, “I also found damage to the skin tissue and intestinal wall, often accompanied by damage to the underlying muscle, but even though tissue damage is usually associated with inflammation, I did not observe this in the earthworms. There seemed to be a suppression of […]

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30
Jan

EU Report: Precautionary Approach Beneficial to Avoid Environmental Disasters

(Beyond Pesticides, January 30, 2013) A new report, “Late lessons from early warnings: science, precaution, innovation,” from the European Environment Agency (EEA) concludes that concerns raised by the scientific community on bee death, genetically engineered (GE) food, and nanotechnology support the need for a precautionary approach to public policy. Significantly, the report concludes that the “precautionary principle,” whereby industry and policy makers are advised to take seriously  early warnings about potential environmental impacts is “nearly always beneficial.” The report cites some industry efforts to undermine precautionary decision making. The report features case studies on environmental impacts, such as mercury poisoning, effects on fertility caused by pesticides, and the impact of pharmaceuticals on some ecosystems, and raises questions about the potential wider impacts of GE crops, nanotechnology, nuclear power, and the effect of pesticides on bee populations. The report lays the blame for numerous environmental crises squarely at the feet of corporations and policy makers who ignore early warnings about environmental impacts. “The historical case studies show that warnings were ignored or sidelined until damage to health and the environment was inevitable,” the EEA said. “In some instances, companies put short-term profits ahead of public safety, either hiding or ignoring the […]

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22
Jan

EPA Challenged Over Conditional Registration of Nanosilver Product

(Beyond Pesticides, January 22, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently faced tough questioning from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit over its decision to conditionally approve a pesticide product containing nanosilver as the active ingredient. The antimicrobial pesticide product, HeiQ AGS-20, contains microscopic particles of silver and has been applied to textiles such as clothes, blankets, and pillowcases, in an attempt to suppress odor and bacterial growth. The main argument in the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) v. EPA lawsuit is that EPA was wrong  to assume that 3-year-olds would be the most vulnerable consumers. Instead, NRDC attorney Catherine Rahm of Washington argued that, “Infants are more likely than any other subgroup to chew on fabrics that could contain this pesticide.” In arguments over whether EPA lawfully granted conditional registration to HeiQ AGS-20, NRDC challenged EPA’s risk assessment for infants and children claiming the agency erred by assuming in its risk assessment that 3-year-olds would be the most vulnerable consumers. Up for debate is oral exposure to the product and whether 3-year-olds chew more aggressively than infants and produce more saliva, an important factor for extracting nanoparticles from products and becoming exposed. NRDC contends EPA’s […]

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07
Dec

Nanotechnology Database Launched in Denmark

(Beyond Pesticides, December 7, 2012) The Danish Consumer Council and the Danish Ecological Council, in cooperation with the Technical University of Denmark, have launched the first ever nanotechnology database, with an inventory on 1,200 products that contain or are claimed to be a “nano” products. The database provides a description of each nanotechnology, rates the exposure risks to professional end-users, consumers and the environment, and indicates possible hazards that nanotechnology poses to both human health and the environment —using a color code, where the exposure or potential effect are rated as high (red), medium (yellow), low (green), or unknown (grey). These nano-sized materials are engineered at one millionth of a millimeter. Or, to put it another way, the size relationship between a baseball and a nanoparticle is similar to the size of a baseball and the entire globe. While nanotechnology is increasingly used every-day in consumer products, including toothpaste, cosmetics, sunscreens, fabric, dietary supplements, pesticides, and even crops, it is still a relatively new field where few of the potential hazards to human health or the environment are known. Nanoparticles often display novel characteristics like increased strength or conductivity, however they are also more toxic than their normal-sized counterparts. Because […]

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23
Aug

Study Reveals Nanoparticles Jeopardize Food Quality and Soil Fertility

(Beyond Pesticides, August 23, 2012) Two commonly used nanoparticles have a significant impact on the growth and yield of food crops, according to a team of scientists led by University of California Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. The study’s conclusions echo similar research findings that show human and environmental risks from nanoparticles are not fully understood, and conclude that a precautionary approach should be used until their fate and toxicity is better understood. The nanoparticles tested in the PNAS study, “Soybean susceptibility to manufactured nanomaterials with evidence for food quality and soil fertility interruption,” include zinc oxide, found in everyday products such as sunscreen, lotions, and cosmetics, and cerium oxide, used in diesel fuels to increase fuel combustion. Zinc oxide nanoparticles enter agricultural fields through the application of biosolid (sewage sludge) fertilizers, which are composed of dried microbes previously used to process wastewater in treatment plants. Researchers discovered that soybean plants grown in soil containing zinc oxide particles bioaccumulate zinc, taking up the metal and distributing it throughout edible plant tissue. This caused a decrease in the food quality of the soybeans, and researchers indicate that it is uncertain whether the zinc that accumulates in the […]

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18
Jul

Researchers Settle NanoSilver Antimicrobial Mechanism; Low Dose May Enhance Bacteria Resistance

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2012) Just as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opened the federal docket for the registration review of nanosilver, Rice University researchers settled a long-standing controversy over the mechanism by which silver nanoparticles, the most widely used nanomaterial in the world, kill bacteria. The researchers found that the silver ions, rather than the silver particles, have antimicrobial effects on bacteria. However, their work comes with a warning; low doses of nanosilver can make bacteria stronger and more resistant. Silver nanoparticles are used just about everywhere, including in cosmetics, socks, food containers, detergents, sprays and a wide range of other products to stop the spread of germs. Researchers have debated the mechanisms by which nanosilver particles exert toxicity to bacteria and other organisms. They have long known that silver ions, which flow from nanoparticles when oxidized, are deadly to bacteria. In the study, “Negligible Particle-Specific Antibacterial Activity of Silver Nanoparticles,” published in NanoLetters, the researchers explain that the nanoparticles are practically benign in the presence of microbes. But when in soluble ionic form, that is, when activated via oxidation, nanosilver becomes toxic to bacteria. The research team decided to test nanoparticle toxicity in an anaerobic environment —with […]

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26
Jun

Research Urgently Needed to Evaluate Risks of Nano Technology

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2012) A new analysis of the current state of nano pesticide-based technologies shows that human and environmental risks are not fully understood and calls on the use of precautionary principal, which suggests minimizing environmental release of nano-particles until their fate and toxicity is better understood. The study, Nano-pesticides: State of knowledge, environmental fate and exposure modeling was was published in the June 6th issue of Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology. “A good understanding of nano-materials is essential to evaluate whether the benefits overcome potential new risks,” explains co-author Thilo Hofmann, Ph.D., of the University of Vienna study. According to the researchers, the current level of knowledge does not allow a fair assessment of the advantages and disadvantages that will result from the use of nano-pesticides. As a prerequisite for such assessment, a better understanding of the fate and effect of nano-pesticides after their application is required. The suitability of current regulations should also be analyzed so that refinements can be implemented if needed. Research on nano-pesticides is therefore a priority for preserving the safety of both the food chain and the environment. The study echoes similar findings of a U.S. Government Accountability Office report, […]

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29
May

Environmental Groups Cite White House for Delay in Nanotechnology Regulations

(Beyond Pesticides, May 29, 2012) An industry newsletter has quoted representatives from two Washington, DC-based environmental organizations working on nanotechnology policy who blame the Obama Administration for impeding oversight of the largely unregulated technology. On May 23, Chemical Regulation Reporter quoted Richard Denison, PhD, a senior scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund, and Jaydee Hanson, senior policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety, as stating that two pending nanotechnology regulations have been placed on hold by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The delayed regulations involve separate proposed rules issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that address engineered nanoparticles used as pesticides and chemicals, respectively. The article reported that Dr. Denison had spoken with EPA officials who told him that they do not expect any regulations for engineered nanoscale pesticides or chemicals to be approved by OMB. OMB is a powerful agency within the Executive Office of the President of the United States which exercises final authority for approving all significant regulatory actions initiated by Cabinet departments. “My understanding is that there is a view in some circles in the White House that they do not want to stigmatize nanomaterials nor stifle the technology even by […]

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03
May

New Dental Fillings Utilize Controversial Nanotechnology to Kill Bacteria

(Beyond Pesticides, May 3, 2012) Scientists at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry have created the first cavity-filling composite using controversial nanotechnology that will both kill bacteria and regenerate tooth structure. The antibacterial component to the new fillings will be a base of quaternary ammonium and silver nanoparticles, along with a high pH. Researchers say that the nanocomposite filling will be able to neutralize residual bacteria that dentists are unable to remove after a dentist drills out a decayed tooth. Though nanotechnology is often heralded for its promising applications, scientists and researchers are becoming increasingly concerned with the lack of regulatory oversight and the potential impacts of these particles on public health and the environment. In addition to testing in animal teeth, the products will be tested in human volunteers in collaboration with the Federal University of Ceara in Brazil. So far, the products have been laboratory tested using biofilms from saliva of volunteers. In 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took several actions to limit human testing with strict guidelines. Human testing was initially stopped by a moratorium in 1998, but later reintroduced in 2003 by a court ruling on a pesticide industry suit. A silver nanoparticle […]

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27
Apr

FDA To Oversee Nanotechnology in Food and Cosmetics; New Study Cites Plant DNA Damage By Nanomaterials

(Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2012) After years of no federal regulatory oversight, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week issued two draft guidance documents that address the use of nanotechnology by the food and cosmetics industries. The documents “encourage” safety assessments for cosmetic products containing nanomaterials, including the need for modification or development of new methods for standardized safety tests. The new guidelines for the first time show the FDA believes nanomaterials deserve greater scrutiny. Federal Oversight to Increase for Nanomaterials Nanomaterials have been formulated in consumer products for years without any regulatory oversight. Hundreds of products have been identified as containing nanomaterials, including toys, sunscreens, food packaging, and clothing. In 2009, developers generated $1 billion from the sale of nanomaterials, and the market for products that rely on these materials is expected to grow to $3 trillion by 2015. Now FDA is recommending that industry consult with the agency on the safety of their products before marketing. The two draft guidance documents, “Guidance for Industry: Assessing the Effects of Significant Manufacturing Process Changes, including Emerging Technologies, on the Safety and Regulatory Status of Food Ingredients and Food Contact Substances, Including Food Ingredients that are Color Additives” and […]

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27
Jan

Report Calls for Greater Review of Nanomaterials While Suit Seeks to Block Nanosilver Approval

(Beyond Pesticides, January 27, 2012) The National Research Council (NRC) released a report on Wednesday, finding that, despite extensive investment in nanotechnology and increasing commercialization over the last decade, insufficient understanding remains about the environmental, health, and safety aspects of nanomaterials. Just one day later, a lawsuit was filed in court by the Natural Resources Defense Council challenging approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of a particular nanomaterial, nanosilver, citing the lack of scientific grounding. The suit, filed in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, seeks to block EPA from allowing nanosilver on the market without legally-required data about its suspected harmful effects on humans and wildlife. Starting in December 2011, EPA allowed the company HeiQ Materials to sell nanosilver used in fabrics for the next four years as the company generates the required data on toxicity to human health and aquatic organisms. According to the NRC report, without a coordinated research plan to help guide efforts to manage and avoid potential risks, the future of safe and sustainable nanotechnology is uncertain. The report presents a strategic approach for developing research and a scientific infrastructure needed to address potential health and environmental risks of […]

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03
Jan

Consumer Safety Groups Sue Food and Drug Administration Over Lax Nanotechnology Review

(Beyond Pesticides, January 3, 2012) A coalition of six consumer safety groups filed suit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 21, 2011, citing the FDA’s chronic failure to regulate materials derived from nanotechnology (nanomaterials) used in sunscreens, cosmetics and drugs. The lawsuit demands that FDA respond to a May 2006 petition the coalition filed calling for regulatory actions, including nano-specific product labeling, health and safety testing, and an analysis of the environmental impacts of nanomaterials in products regulated by FDA. The lawsuit cites numerous studies and reports published since 2006 that establish significant data gaps concerning nanomaterials’ potential effects on human health and the environment. Led by the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA), the coalition is calling for FDA to take immediate action to assess the actual risks from nanomaterials and implement appropriate protective measures for consumers. While receiving minimal regulatory scrutiny or public attention, nanotechnology is becoming an increasingly prevalent practice for developing the next generation of ingredients in a wide range of consumer products. Generally defined, nanotechnology is the practice of manipulating matter on an atomic or molecular level to produce materials between 1 and 100 nanometers (nm) in size. A nanometer is […]

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