Risk management for nanomaterials : what are the existing methods and tools ?

Abstract : Nanotechnologies have been predicted to have giant market potential and this prediction is quickly becoming a reality. By 2020 it is expected that nearly every area of industry will be affected by nanotechnologies. In that context proper risk management to support safe and sustainable development, trade and use of nano-objects is a must. However, the implementation of traditional approaches for risk management cannot be successful because of several factors, in particular: a) the lack of knowledge and the uncertainties related to the effects of the nano-objects on health and the environment, b) the perception of the various stakeholders, in particular the public which sometimes compare the situation to asbestos or GMOs, c) and the lack of practical experience for the implementation of current regulations and standards adopted in various countries. In order to overcome these difficulties it is of utmost importance to invest in research to gain knowledge on the properties and behaviours of nano-objects and thus reduce the uncertainties and answer the concerns of the stakeholders including the general public and consumers, regulatory bodies and public authorities, industry, insurance companies. Despite the very positive impact of the coordination of research with the EU NanoSafety Cluster, it will need probably several years to gain the knowledge and have it implemented in standard and regulation… and there are some questions that need to be solved now. The iNTeg-Risk FP7 project has developed and made available a pre-standard that provides a well-structured method and describes practical tools supporting risk management related to emerging technologies (see Fig.1). The CEN Workshop Agreement CWA 16649:2013 ‘Managing emerging technology-related risks' adopted on June 26, 2013 combines the concept and methods from a) the ISO 31000 standard ”Risk management”, that is a management standard dedicated to risk in general, and b) the risk governance framework proposed by the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC) that emphasizes the importance of communication with the stakeholders during the whole risk management process. The Emerging Risk Management Framework from iNTeg-Risk provides guidance at each steps of the risk management process from the emergence of the risk, the risk appraisal and the risk assessment up to the definition of possible risk reduction measures. Combining the results of the projects performed in connection with the NanoSafety Cluster and the full implementation of the ERMF framework for the risks related to nano-objects would help to quicker identifying the available knowledge and the needs for further research, the need to share experiences on the implementation of regulations and standards, and the needs for communication addressing the concerns of the stakeholders. Large and integrating projects such as NanoReg addressing regulations (definition, reference methods, classifications…) should carefully pay attention to the global approach described in the ERMF and evaluate if some tools might be directly implemented for risk management of nano-objects.
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Olivier Salvi, Emeric Frejafon, Aleksandar Jovanovic, Michael Löscher, Benoît Hazebrouck. Risk management for nanomaterials : what are the existing methods and tools ?. 4. International Conference on Safe Production and Use of Nanomaterials (Nanosafe 2014), Nov 2014, Grenoble, France. ⟨ineris-01855614⟩

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