FDA Sued For Not Acting on Nanotech Citizen Petition

December 29, 2011

By Ricardo Carvajal

Several nonprofit groups sued FDA for its failure to respond to a May 2006 citizen petition asking that products of nanotechnology be subject to specific regulatory requirements, and that FDA stop the marketing of sunscreens that contain nanoparticles.  The complaint alleges that manufactured nanomaterials have properties that “create unique human health and environmental risks” that FDA has failed to address.  Citing an inventory maintained by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, plaintiffs contend that “nano-consumer products” are rapidly entering the marketplace with inadequate government oversight or research on their potential effects on human health and the environment.  Plaintiffs single out personal care products (e.g., sunscreens) as a category of special concern because of their relative prevalence in the marketplace, “and their repeated, intimate use by consumers.”  Plaintiffs request a court order declaring that FDA is in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, and to compel FDA to respond to the 2006 citizen petition “as soon as reasonably practicable.”