On February 28, 2008 Senator Mark Pryor, along with 10 co-sponsors, introduced S. 2663, the Consumer Product Safety Commission Reform Act. The goal of the bill, as one can infer from the title is to overhaul portions of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In addition, the bill carves out specific funding for nanotechnology research.
The bill makes a very specific budgetary assignment to CPSC for nanotechnology research. Specifically, S.2663 states in section 3(d), "There are authorized to be appropriated to the Commission for research, in cooperation with the National Institute of Science and Technology, the Food and Drug Administration, and other relevant Federal agencies into safety issues related to the use of nanotechnology in consumer products, $1,000,000 for fiscal years 2009 and 2010." The action has yet to be voted on by the Senate, and if passed, would still need to pass through the House of Representatives.
While $1 million seems, to me anyway, to be a small sum for studying consumer safety issues with regards to nanotechnology, it nonetheless shows Congress’s increasing awareness of nanotechnology issues and risks. While I don’t think we’ll be able to shrink the data gap with disbursements of $1 million for research, it is a start.