chapter  7
20 Pages

Comprehensive Environmental Assessment and Other Life Cycle-Based Approaches for Assessing Nanotechnology

ByJ. Michael Davis

The idea of Comprehensive Environmental Assessment (CEA) was first developed in reference to fuels and fuel additives, although its applicability to other technological issues, including nanotechnology, has been apparent. The CEA approach consists of both a framework and a process. CEA considers the type and magnitude of both direct and indirect effects on various receptors and other types of impacts in relation to exposure–dose potential by all relevant pathways. A CEA "record" exists not only in the framework document as a catalogue of information considered for the assessment, but in the collective judgment aspect of the CEA process. The advantage of a life cycle perspective is that it allows a broader, more systematic examination of the trade-offs associated with a product. Environmental media and conditions are relevant throughout the chain of events encompassed by the CEA framework, including the potential for exposure to primary and secondary substances.