chapter  1
29 Pages

Introduction: Assessing Nanotechnology Health and Environmental Risks

ByJo Anne Shatkin

Nanotechnology is a major player in the technological future, and there is an exciting opportunity to design that future. Nanotechnology presents an opportunity to redesign and to engineer technologies to specification. Nanotechnology is also an enabling technology, that is, the unique properties at the nanoscale can be harnessed for virtually any technological application. One of the main reasons for the explosion of interest in nanotechnology is the unique properties and behavior of matter at the nanoscale. Finally, the chapter presents an overview of this book. The book explores the use of risk analysis in decision making and its development as a field of analysis and a policy tool. It discusses life cycle analysis, an assessment approach that takes a broader look at the behavior of substances from their generation to ultimate disposal or reuse. The book addresses environmental impacts and exposure—a crucial component that distinguishes hazard analysis from risk analysis.