Risk analysis and technology assessment

Nanotechnology encompasses possibilities and expectations to increase the quality of life. At the same time the past has shown us that 'unknowns' about potential human, environmental and societal risks are raised. Attempts to address these 'unknowns' are generally carried out in the privacy of discussions about risks. However, proceeding in this way will lead to questions being raised about safety issues that come along with innovations at too late a stage of innovation, and hereby hinder the full exploitation of potential benefits of innovations.

Authorities and industry are in need of insight into which information is pivotal to address the question whether a nanomaterial or nanotech application is safe. This requires smart approaches to reduce these uncertainties to acceptable levels as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, the interaction between innovators and those dealing with these issues should be improved in order to allow safety and societal discussions keep better pace with innovation processes. An interdisciplinary approach is required, with research that pushes boundaries, and maps out existing risk analyses of effects in the arena of health, safety and the environment.

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