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© 2004 Prof Roland Clift NANOTECHNOLOGY Professor Roland Clift, Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, GUILDFORD, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK and Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering Working Group on “Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties”
© 2004 Prof Roland Clift ROYAL ACADEMIES’ WORKING GROUP “…an independent study into current and future developments in nanoscience and nanotechnologies and their impacts” - reported July members: engineers and scientists, a philosopher, a social scientist, a consumer champion and an environmentalist “…identify what environmental, health and safety, ethical or societal implications or uncertainties may arise from the use of the technology…” “…identify areas where regulation needs to be considered”.
© 2004 Prof Roland Clift NANOTECHNOLOGY An emerging technology based on solid particles in the size range where their properties are determined by size and surface condition rather than bulk properties: typically 1 – 100nm (nm = nanometer = m) comparable in size to viruses
© 2004 Prof Roland Clift SOME POSSIBLE APPLICATIONS Evolutionary:- Catalysts and separation membranes - Batteries and fuel cells - Paints and coatings - Electronics and displays - “Smart” packaging and labelling - Environmental clean-up Longer Term:- Composites - Lubricants - Components and prosthetics - Diagnosis and targeted drug delivery - Environmental monitoring “Blue Sky”: - Self-replicating robots and assemblers
© 2004 Prof Roland Clift 1.Are the quantifiable benefits real? eg. energy savings 2.Health and environmental impacts of substances and manufactured products 3.Social impacts of new and emerging technologies THREE AREAS OF CONCERN
© 2004 Prof Roland Clift LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT
© 2004 Prof Roland Clift Hazard Assessment: Hazard identification: identification of the inherent capacity of a substance to cause adverse effects, without regard to the likelihood or severity of such effects. Hazard characterisation: quantitative evaluation of adverse effects following exposure to a chemical. Exposure Assessment: Quantitative evaluation of the likely exposure of humans and the environment to the substance. Risk Characterisation: Quantitative estimation of the probability that an adverse effect will occur, and of its severity and duration under defined exposure conditions. THE ELEMENTS OF CURRENT RISK ASSESSMENT
© 2004 Prof Roland Clift Direct: - Inhalation eg. workplace Emissions from vehicles, combustion, etc Natural sources; eg. volcanoes - Dermal exposure; eg. sun-screens; cosmetics - Ingestion; eg. In water Indirect: primarily via food chain SOURCE pathway RECEPTOR
© 2004 Prof Roland Clift Toxicity estimation or testing (hazard): - animal testing - “in vitro” tests - “in silico” tests (incl. QSAR’s) - epidemiology Persistence Bioaccumulation BASIS FOR REGULATION
© 2004 Prof Roland Clift Probably, but there are unresolved questions: size matters…. (surface area?) surface properties matter…. How do these affect persistence and bioaccumulation? Many products with small quantities CAN NEW MATERIALS BE REGULATED AS “NEW CHEMICALS”?
© 2004 Prof Roland Clift How to define production thresholds? Are current risk assessment procedures appropriate and sufficient? Regulate as consumer products or as medicines? Labelling of products? CAN NEW MATERIALS BE REGULATED AS “NEW CHEMICALS”?
© 2004 Prof Roland Clift Presumption against release of nanoparticles into the environment: - Fuel additives (eg. cerium oxide) - Bioremediation (eg. iron; other metals) - End-of-life products Nanoparticles likely to be made at point of use Makes arguments for a moratorium on production irrelevant…. Unless and until nanoparticles become commodities, this is probably not a general issue anyway…. PRECAUTIONARY APPROACH IMPLIES
© 2004 Prof Roland Clift Health and environmental impacts are uncertain. Social impacts are completely unknown…
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