reportHSE & Risk
5.1 Environment, Health & Safety & Impacts
“Environment, Health & Safety & Impacts” aims to highlight any Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) issues related to the scientific and technological developments identified within Work Package 2. Integrating output from relevant sources (reports and publications from other organizations and projects), WP5 will issue appropriate recommendations for further action on those issues identified.
Issues at hand
In 2004, the EU Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering published a major review of the opportunities and uncertainties of nanotechnologies. This was one of the first reports to highlight the potential risks to health and the environment which may arise from exposure to nanoparticles. Since then more than twenty five national and international reviews carried out by government departments, industry associations, insurance organizations and researchers have considered nanoparticle risk issues and have provided a consistent view that there is insufficient knowledge concerning the potential risks of nanoparticles.
In response to this, a number of initiatives on EHS issues of nanotechnology are now underway, some of the most relevant being outlined within the Description of Work for WP5. Rather than replicate effort unnecessarily, WP5’s aim is to collect, interpret and utilize the output of these activities, focussing on liaison with existing initiatives, a plan for which is outlined as WP5’s first deliverable.
Importantly, some web-based nano EHS information services are currently in operation - these are outlined below:
- SAFENANO - the UK’s premier resource on Nanotechnology Hazard & Risk. A UK-based initiative led by IOM. A full outline of SAFENANO’s main activities is available within the WP5 download section.
- CEA-CNRS OMNT observatory “Nanoparticles, nanomaterials, impacts on health and environment” - A French initiative led by WP5 member CEA. A full outline of the OMNT’s main activities is available within the WP5 download section.
- KIR-nano: Risks of Nanotechnology Knowledge and Information centre - A Dutch initiative led by WP5 member RIVM. A full outline of KIR-nano’s main activities is available within the WP5 download section.
- ICON – a major international database of published research on nanoparticle risk issues. (IOM and RIVM participate in committees)
- The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies is a project based within the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars. It hosts a series of inventories, exploring various aspects of nanotechnology.
- OECD nanotechnology database, is a project currently in development, on which IOM collaborates.
- SnIRC is a multi-disciplinary network focussed on particle risk issues. IOM leads this collaboration.
- ICON is a multi-disciplinary network focussed on sustainable development of nanomaterials. Both IOM and RIVM participate in guidance committees for this initiative.
In addition, WP5 has also identified a number of key baseline studies to which our work will refer. These studies are outlined within a document available to download below.
Within the first year of Observatory Nano, WP5 will provide the following:
Month 1 onwards: Active liaison with agencies, organizations, and projects which are generating new experimental data on health, environmental issues, and safety considerations.
Month 6: Plan for liaison with key organizations (databases, networks, projects, initiatives).
Month 12: Annual report on outputs of liaison organizations
Month 12: Annual update – Health, Safety, and Environment
For queries relating to WP5, please contact:
Dr Rob Aitken, Institute of Occupational Medicine, Edinburgh
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