Keywords: nanotechnology, nanomaterials, risk management, risk assessment, framework, regulations, nanotoxicity, nanotoxicology, nanoparticles
A risk management framework for the regulation of nanomaterials
Nanotechnology promises a plethora of benefits to society. Early research has established that some types of nanomaterials may be highly toxic to living systems, while others are seemingly inert. Nanotoxicology is a new field that has become the focus for risk assessment and management of nanomaterials. To address the potential risks either current chemical and particulate material regulations need to be modified to encompass the uniqueness of nanomaterial exposure or nanomaterials should be regulated as an entirely separate category of environmental agent. Policy makers in different jurisdictions are already formulating new risk management frameworks for nanotoxicology. A review of risk management frameworks reveals similarities and differences between the largest funders of nanotechnology (the USA, the European Union, and Japan). The use of a common, integrated risk management framework of the type proposed here will help reduce future trade barriers that may arise from differential nanotoxicity derived standards and variable nanotoxicology research results.