Final Report Summary – GUIDEnano (Assessment and mitigation of nano-enabled product risks on human and environmental health: Development of new strategies and creation of a digital guidance tool for nanotech industries)
Current uncertainties on the safety of nano-enabled products need to be urgently and carefully addressed. Otherwise, public fears could end up blocking the benefits of nanotechnology. Sound scientific information must be generated to identify potential risks of nano-enabled products on human and ecosystems health, taking into consideration all stages of the life cycle of these products. Some web-based control banding tools are already available, but these mainly focus on the worksite and are mainly intended at the identification of hotspots rather than a complete risk assessment.
The recently finalized EU FP7 project GUIDEnano aimed to develop a methodology to address the human and environmental health risks of nano-enabled products, considering the whole product life cycle, i.e. synthesis of nanomaterials (NM), manufacturing of NM-enabled products, use, and end-of-life phase. The project consortium consisted of around 30 international partners, including universities, research institutes and industrial partners developing NM-enabled products.
The GUIDEnano consortium reviewed and structured the state of the art knowledge on the risk assessment of nanomaterials, and identified a series of gaps that were addressed by a series of experimental studies and comprehensive literature data analysis. The project incorporated as well 8 industrial case studies that were investigated in detail and were used to evaluate the performance of the Tool.
The main result of this 3.5-year effort is the GUIDEnano Tool, which incorporated in a structured-way all knowledge compiled/generated by the consortium in order to provide a quantitative human and environmental risk evaluation. Where needed, the Tool allows to assess how different risk management measures would modify the risk estimation, for example by providing the efficiency of methods for exposure reduction or by evaluating materials that are produced with the goal to be inherently safe(r) by design.
The correct implementation of this guidance ensures that the risks associated with a NM-enabled product, throughout its whole life cycle/ value chain, have been appropriately evaluated and mitigated to an acceptable level, according to the most recent knowledge at the time of implementation. The evaluation of a NM-enabled product using this Tool will also be useful for risk communication to regulators, insurance companies, and society.
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