Critical analysis of frameworks and approaches to assess the environmental risks of nanomaterials

Khara Deanne Grieger, Igor Linkov, Steffen Foss Hansen, Anders Baun

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearchpeer-review

Abstract

7.1.7 Critical analysis of frameworks and approaches to assess the environmental risks of nanomaterials Khara D. Grieger1, Igor Linkov2, Steffen Foss Hansen1, Anders Baun1 1Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark 2Environmental Laboratory, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Brookline, USA Email: kdg@env.dtu.dk Scientists, organizations, governments, and policy-makers are currently involved in reviewing, adapting, and formulating risk assessment frameworks and strategies to understand and assess the potential environmental risks of engineered nanomaterials (NM). It is becoming increasingly apparent that approaches which are aimed at ultimately fulfilling standard, quantitative environmental risk assessment for NM is likely to be not only extremely challenging but also resource- and time-consuming. In response, a number of alternative or complimentary frameworks and approaches to standard (environmental) risk assessment have been subsequently proposed specifically for NM. However, further information regarding the potential strengths and weaknesses of these strategies is currently lacking. This analysis aims to evaluate different environmental risk analysis or assessment frameworks and approaches which have been developed or proposed by large organizations or regulatory bodies for NM. These frameworks and approaches were evaluated and assessed based on a select number of criteria which have been previously proposed as important parameters for inclusion in successful risk assessment frameworks for NM: flexible for a variety of NM, suitable for multiple decision contexts, incorporate uncertainty analysis, include life cycle perspectives, iterative or adaptive, enable more timely decision making, transparent, integrate various stakeholder perspectives, integrate precaution, and include qualitative or quantitative data. Among other results we find that most of the investigated frameworks and approaches are i) flexible for multiple NM, ii) suitable for multiple decision contexts, iii) include life cycle perspectives, iv) transparent, v) include precautionary aspects, and vi) able to include qualitative and quantitative data. We also find that many of the frameworks and approaches may be adapted for iterative or adaptive elements and timely decision making if needed, although these criteria were not inherently embedded in many of the strategies based on their current format. Furthermore, most frameworks and approaches are mainly applicable to occupational settings with minor applications for the environment, and many (if not most) of them have not been thoroughly tested on a wide range of NM or nano-applications. Given these results, we recommend the use of a multi-faceted approach to assess the environmental risks of NM, in which different frameworks may be used and combined for the particular question considered. We also recommend further testing of these different frameworks and approaches on concrete, real-world NM applications which are specifically relevant for environmental risk contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Event3rd NanoImpactNet Conference : Building a bridge from NanoImpactNet to nanomedical research - Lausanne, Switzerland
Duration: 1 Jan 2011 → …

Conference

Conference3rd NanoImpactNet Conference : Building a bridge from NanoImpactNet to nanomedical research
CityLausanne, Switzerland
Period01/01/2011 → …

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