Assessing risks from nanomaterials
Ogilvie Robichaud, Christine Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.
Last reviewed:October 2021
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Frameworks for assessing risk prior to a complete understanding of nanomaterial behavior. Nanotechnology is being used in exciting and potentially revolutionary applications, ranging from sunscreens and drug delivery to more efficient solar cells and the production of stronger and lighter tires. As nanomaterials are produced and incorporated into products and processes, they will inevitably enter the environment and come in contact with living organisms (Fig. 1). Nanomaterials are advantageous for new or improved applications; however, they may interact with organisms and the environment in unexpected ways. Some of these unpredictable impacts will be positive, and some will be potentially harmful. Regulators, companies, researchers, and the public agree that methods for assessing the relative safety of nanomaterials are needed immediately. The potential for negative impacts must be addressed if we are to realize the positive gains. See also: Nanotechnology
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