2007 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show - Nanotech 2007 - 10th Annual

Assessing Environmental Risk of Nanomaterials: Approaches and Tools

I. Linkov, M. Peterson, L. Corey and R. Pleus
Intertox Inc., US

nanotechnology, risk assessment, decision analysis, societal benefits

Despite the more than 300 products containing nanomaterials that are on the market today, knowledge of the environmental effects and risks associated with these materials is very limited and often contradictory. There is no clear guidance on how to make risk management decisions for the use of nanomaterials given the large uncertainty in understanding and characterization of even their basic properties, let alone their toxicity, fate and transport in the environment. It will be necessary to modify the current risk assessment and toxicity evaluation paradigm for nanomaterials since existing methods and tools are not adequate to deal with uncertainty related to nanomaterial exposure assessment and characterization. The challenges of managing risk in situations where the knowledge base is limited and there exists high uncertainty and variability characteristic of the nanotechnology field require the coupling of traditional risk assessment with multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA). This paradigm has been proven effective in supporting regulatory decision making and technology development in other fields and has shown promise in the emerging field of nanotechnology risk assessment. Adaptive management and value of information analysis (VOI) would provide systematic tool for the dynamic linkage of nanotechnology risk assessment and management with nanomaterial development goals as well as with new information on social and economic priorities. A hypothetical, but realistic, example of the application of these tools in the selection of a nanomaterial with the optimal properties that reduce risk, will be presented.

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Nanotech 2007 Conference Program Abstract


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