chapter  3
18 Pages

Sustainable Nanotechnology Development Using Risk Assessment and Applying Life Cycle Thinking

ByJo Anne Shatkin

It is clear that risk assessment is an important tool for understanding and managing the potential risks from nanotechnologies and nanomaterials. Several organizations fund research into models that evaluate the behavior of materials across their life cycle, from their creation or extraction from the earth to their post-use fate in the environment, whether by recycling or disposal. Many applications of life cycle analysis use life cycle impact analysis (LCIA). LCIA applies modeling tools to evaluate impacts of technologies broadly, from large databases for materials from their generation, or removal from the earth, to their end of use. With nanotechnology applications in lotions, creams, cosmetics, sporting goods, food packaging, paints, fabrics, electronics, and automobiles, nanomaterials are and will be widely dispersed geographically. There is a growing movement toward so-called green nano or sustainable nanotechnology that seeks to reduce the toxicity and environmental burden associated with substances and technologies, including a series of meetings on the topic.