Nanotechnology is the use of particles which are very small. They are submicroscopic particles which are thought to pose a health hazard. The petition was raised by environmental groups which asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to strengthen its regulation of sunscreens that contain nano-sized titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These particles are thought to cause inflammatory and immune responses in the human body. These environmental groups said that federal regulators are not showing much interest in scrutinizing the risks posed by nanotechnology in sunscreens and the dozens of cosmetic products. These particles are hundreds of times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. A human hair, in comparison, is roughly 80,000 nanometers in diameter.
Lisa Archer, a senior campaigner for one of the environmental groups said that if regulatory actions are taken late then it would result in large scale health and environmental damage. The FDA said that it has invited people to discuss the new kinds of nanotechnology materials being developed for use in the products it regulates, including drugs, foods, cosmetics and medical devices. The environmental groups said the FDA needs new regulations that take into account the unique hazards that untested and unassessed nanomaterials may pose. But John Bailey, executive vice president for science at the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association, said that they are having a strict look out for all possible dangers and along with the FDA's authority people need not fear of any suffering any negative consequences due to nanotechnology.