Monthly Archives: March 2008

Double Standard: Nanotech Is New! Except When That’s Inconvenient

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

As I noted in an earlier post, the federal government staunchly maintains that regulatory agencies’ current authorities and regulatory structures are adequate.  Yet I sense quite a bit of angst — even panic — in the agencies over how they will actually address the complexities of nanotechnology under those existing authorities and regulatory structures.

The claim that laws developed long before nanotechnology came along can nevertheless manage it flawlessly smacks of a double standard:  If there’s nothing novel here, why is the federal government investing $1.5 billion annually to develop nanotechnology? Read More »

Posted in Health policy, Nanotechnology, TSCA reform / Comments are closed

Nano Risk Management Training Workshops

Scott Walsh, MBA, is a Project Manager.

As we’ve noted in this blog and elsewhere, there’s a ton of uncertainty out there about what potential risks may arise from the production, use and disposal of engineered nanomaterials.  And unfortunately for companies trying to work with such materials (and the rest of us who may be exposed to them), there’s still not much guidance on how to identify, manage and mitigate potential risks.

On April 2nd and April 8th, Terry Medley and Keith Swain from DuPont and I will be leading two interactive workshops on nano risk management.   Read More »

Posted in Nanotechnology / Tagged , | Authors: / Read 3 Responses

On the Road to In Vitro Testing: Are We There Yet?

John Balbus, M.D., M.P.H., is Chief Health Scientist.

EPA’s recently released draft Nanotechnology Research Strategy (NRS) proposes a tiered testing system to evaluate human toxicity of nanomaterials.  It puts in vitro tests, or those done in test tubes and petri dishes as opposed to living animals, front and center.  EPA says the results of the first, in vitro tier will be used for guidance on “what health endpoints to monitor” and the second, in vivo tier will then help “identify those in vitro assays that correlate with in vivo nanomaterial toxicity or health effects.”

Wait a second.  If the in vivo testing is necessary in order to figure out what the in vitro testing results really mean, how can the agency use the in vitro testing results to figure out what health endpoints to monitor?  This cart and horse confusion is a serious matter. Read More »

Posted in Emerging testing methods, Health science, Nanotechnology / Tagged , , | Read 1 Response

Nano “Trojan Horse” Study Gets Top Billing

Cal Baier-Anderson, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist.

Each year, the journal Environmental Science & Technology selects a list of Top Papers it has published that are “expected to have a significant and long-lasting impact on the field.” For 2007, its choice for the top environmental science paper addresses a curious facet of the behavior of certain metal oxide nanoparticles:  They can behave as “Trojan horses,” getting inside cultured lung cells and causing significant damage. Read More »

Posted in Health science / Tagged | Read 2 Responses

Stating the Obvious: Nano Cosmetics Risk Assessment is Inadequate

Richard Denison, PhD, is a Senior Scientist.

Just after publishing my last post, I learned that the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products has released a new Scientific Opinion that concludes current risk assessment procedures and methods applied to cosmetics, in particular sunscreens, are insufficient. Read More »

Posted in Health science, Nanotechnology / Tagged , | Authors: / Read 1 Response

What Was the White House Thinking?

Richard Denison, Ph.D., is a Senior Scientist.

It’s been a few months now since the White House took the unusual step of articulating some “Principles for Nanotechnology EH&S Oversight.” Given recent events, it’s worth again reflecting on this official memorandum, which was signed by the heads of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and sent to the heads of all federal agencies and departments.

Despite the title, it’s very hard not to read this document as one intended primarily to throw up barriers to effective oversight. Read More »

Posted in Health policy, Nanotechnology, Regulation / Tagged , | Authors: / Read 3 Responses