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Biotech United States Technology

FDA Sees Nanotech Challenges In Every Product Category 21

An anonymous reader writes "The Food and Drug Administration's Nanotechnology Task Force has passed on its first report into the ever-growing field of nanotech products. As a result, the FDA is implementing changes that will allow it to oversee nanotech products in every category withinin its purview. Nanotech products are 'estimated to grow to $2.6 trillion in manufactured goods globally by 2014. As the Task Force report highlights, nanotechnology impacts every area of FDA responsibility--drugs, drug delivery systems, cosmetics, medical devices, and food products. Overall, the agency regulates products that are worth nearly $1.5 trillion annually and that account for almost 25 percent of US consumer spending.'"
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FDA Sees Nanotech Challenges In Every Product Category

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  • That the FDA found an excuse to stick its dick where it doesn't belong? The entire article reads like one great big FDA power grab. Lines about expanding the FDA's authority and jurisdiction to areas where it doesn't currently exist, and strengthening it where it's weak because the shibboleth of nanotechnology will provide them a FUD cover don't exactly fill me with joy. The FDA is already the single largest impediment to development of drugs, and allowing them to interfere with a fledgling technology un
    • Well, after the German scare, which turned out to be http://www.nanowerk.com/spotlight/spotid=726.php/ [nanowerk.com] misguided, we may actually want to look over the whole nano- thing.

      Not http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/09/01/nanotec h/index.html/ [cnn.com]everyone is willing to take it on faith that nanotech is harmless or should be assumed to be safe. And I'm guessing that when some nano- product turns out to be worse than asbestos, you'll all be screaming for reform at the FDA, how could they have betrayed us? Oh, the
      • Who said anything about assuming that nanotech is harmless? Of course there are risks involved with it, just like there are like any venture. But now, if it turns out that nano causes cancer or something, I _won't_ be screaming for the FDA, because I don't want them involved in much of anything, let alone areas where they don't need to be. We already have a system to handle damages of that sort through the courts, and we should continue to use it to punish companies who release harmful products _after_ t
    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Of course I have sympathy for these companies that cheat stockholders by backdating stocks options, cashing in stock options based on insider information and in general treating stockholder property as personal disposal income. Not to mention research and development product that are perfectly willing to engage in mass murder for profits. A terrorist kills a few thousand people, we go to war. A corporation kills a few tens of thousand of people we let them continue to do the same thing another day. I me
  • I don't necessarily see the FDA as a bad thing, since most of what they do results in me not dying from botulism. They're right to say that nanotech affects them, as nanotech is likely to go into all of the above-listed things. A bit of accountability would be nice, but I'm not expecting that any time soon from the government of the US. In any case, I just hope they don't screw it up.
    • FDA doesn't do a great job if you ask me. While services might be improving over the last few years. Look at the current year. We had a major peanut butter mfgr initiate a nationwide recall which went back up to 2 years to indefinate, although I belive they have started to manufacturer again. Then a month later, what seemed to be the biggestpet food recall ever happened. Not to mention the whole Celebrex ordeal.
      • by Qzukk ( 229616 )
        If you think that's bad, just wait til you see what happens when they're not there to issue token fines and slap people on the wrist.
  • Classical case of short-sightedness.

    The possible impact of nanotech on health extends much beyond just food and medical categories. Whenever life comes into contact with engineered nanostructures, there is a risk of unwanted interactions. Act [com.com] now [hazards.org].
  • by maggard ( 5579 ) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Saturday July 28, 2007 @09:34AM (#20022511) Homepage Journal

    The thing is, nanotech enters our biosphere, and our bodies, in novel ways.

    Skin doesn't really block it. And once inside us it can even pass the blood/brain barrier. That's not saying all nanotech materials are gonna do that, but I want some assurances that the nifty new coating on my paper towels isn't soaking into me.

    Unless the FDA acts and gets this put within their purview then it won't be. Frankly an entire category of new materials, of a scale theyre inherently biologically interactive, being widely distributed into the market, is cause for concern for their impact. To me that justifies a little judicious oversight.

    Grey goo [wikipedia.org] isn't so much a fear as industrial poisoning. I'd hate to find out in 2012 that the nano-paint on the 2010 Honda nano-flakes off and then does awful things to lung tissue resulting in asbestos-like problems. Or the nano-polish in my stovetop cleaner aerosolizes (does that apply at this scale?) and polishes corneas - from the inside.

    Clearly "Bad things nobody wants to happen".

    But, again, without mandates the FDA won't be able to research, perhaps regulate, or eventually react. Even though I think the FDA is a severely compromised agency, often too close to the industries they regulate and constrained by political pressure from the administration ("Coal tar? Good for the sinuses! I sniff some from the great state of _insert_ ev'ry day!") I prefer it over nothing.

    • i think what others are saying about this is that poisonous towels/paint/whatever are already regulated (nanotechnology is just potentially much more dangerous), and that this is more a power grab than anything else.

      i too don't want poisonous paint (or grey goo!), but it might not need any significant change in how things are run. now, if they could just decrease the amount of corruption... and nanotech isn't only an fda thing either, so they better not be the only agency running tests.
      • Your argument confounds itself: How can nanotech simultaneously be "...already regulated (nanotechnology is just potentially much more dangerous)" and "... this is more a power grab than anything else."

        You're claiming the FDA doing a power-grab from... themselves?.

        Either the FDA Has the mandate to regulate nanottech already or it doesn't.

        Not to point out the obvious (though apparently it needs to be) but the point of the FDA process in question, the reports and all, is the FDA saying the FDA doesn't ha

  • by gregor-e ( 136142 ) on Saturday July 28, 2007 @12:25PM (#20023781) Homepage
    Anything now posing under the rubric of "nanotechnology" is just pretending to be new and different technology. So far, it's all just molecules, most of which are produced using the same old chemical processes we've always used, and which have the same inherent benefits and risks as any other new molecule. I am disturbed that this fashion trend of dubbing new molecular products "nanotech" is now being used as an excuse for specific regulatory actions. We already have laws and regulations governing testing and deployment of new molecules.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This is not strictly correct. "Nanotechnology" refers to materials with dimensions on the order of a hundred to a few hundreds of nanometers. In general, the "nanotech" materials that are interesting (carbon nanotubes, semiconductor nanocrystals, etc.) have emergent properties that are characteristic to their size, and uniquely different from the properties of either single molecules or bulk materials. For example, CdSe nanocrystals ("Quantum dots") are highly fluorescent, but neither bulk CdSe nor CdSe
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gregor-e ( 136142 )
        But we've always had materials spanning all ranges of size, from nanometer-sized molecules through tire-sized molecules (a tire being the best example). Many commonly used synthetic and biological polymers span the "nanotech" sizes you mention. Any time there is a mist of solution, the solvent evaporating will leave an airborn clump of solute that is "nanotech-sized", often having a very specific-sized population. We've always had an obligation to investigate the material properties of specific ingredien
  • by Coleon ( 946269 )
    I think there are two mayor issues with Nanotechnology.
    The first is FDA or whatever Administration who has to approve it in other countries. The FDA in some way set the precedent so thats something you consider when you are testing a product to be approved in your country. "
    Oh!! It was approved by FDA!! so it must be good"
    As "maggard" said

    Even though I think the FDA is a severely compromised agency, often too close to the industries they regulate and constrained by political pressure from the administration

    So what happends if your almighty FDA fails? I will asume that guys in the FDA tries to make his best to test and to be sure that the product is not going to cause any h

  • I have a mental illness called schizoaffective disorder [geometricvisions.com]. It's just like being schizophrenic and manic depressive at the same time.

    A while back I was taking a fairly high dose of the antipsychotic Risperdal, and it was giving me symptoms of tardive dyskinesia, a form of brain damage which causes repetitive motions. In my case it was involuntary mouth movements, as if I was chewing gum, but at its worst it can put you in a wheelchair.

    My doctor wanted me to be the first at the mental health clinic to try

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it. -- John Keats