chapter  2
30 Pages

Defining Risk Assessment and How It Is Used for Environmental Protection and Its Potential Role for Managing Nanotechnology Risks

ByJo Anne Shatkin

This chapter explores the basics of risk analysis, how risks are analyzed, and how scientists and regulators make decisions about how to manage them. The perception of technological risk has a lot of influence on individual and collective decisions about whether or not to adopt new technology. Risk assessment helps to identify potential concerns and evaluate how they compare with other types of materials and technologies that have been adopted. The real value of conducting early screening-level risk assessments is that understanding risks allows more efficient management of them. The US Presidential Commission framework recognized the role of uncertainty in risk assessment: "Risk assessors have to use a combination of scientific information and best judgment". Risk assessment is also used in the United States for regulating food safety and allowing additives in food and food packaging.