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Nanoparticles: A Closer Look at the Risks to Human Health and the Environment Perceptions and Precautionary Measures of Industry and Regulatory Bodies in Europe

Helland, Aasgeir (2004)
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
Abstract
Nanotechnology is a collective definition referring to every technology and science which operates on a nanoscale. Nanoparticles have different properties than larger particles and these properties can be utilized in a wide spectre of areas such as in medicine, information technologies, energy production and storage, materials, manufacturing and environmental applications.

Although nano-derived applications have great potentials, there are some concerns about the potential nanoparticles have to cause adverse effects on human health and the environment. The different properties that make nanoparticles so promising are at the same time properties that are likely to have impact on ecosystems and organisms.

This research maps out the current... (More)
Nanotechnology is a collective definition referring to every technology and science which operates on a nanoscale. Nanoparticles have different properties than larger particles and these properties can be utilized in a wide spectre of areas such as in medicine, information technologies, energy production and storage, materials, manufacturing and environmental applications.

Although nano-derived applications have great potentials, there are some concerns about the potential nanoparticles have to cause adverse effects on human health and the environment. The different properties that make nanoparticles so promising are at the same time properties that are likely to have impact on ecosystems and organisms.

This research maps out the current knowledge base of hazards and risks of nanoparticles to human health and the environment. Furthermore it investigates the perceptions that producers and regulatory bodies have of the risks and looks at the precautionary measures taken.

The main findings of this study are that nanoparticles cause more toxic effects in the lungs than bigger particles and can translocate within the environment and the body. However, nanoparticles are likely to cause different impacts to human health, occupation health and the environment, depending on the size, shape and chemical composition of the nanoparticle. There is therefore great uncertainty about what the actual risks of nanoparticle to human health and the environment are. Both industry and regulatory bodies are aware of the potential risks of nanoparticles. The producers do not believe that nanoparticles represent a risk to the environment, but sees that nanoparticles can be more problematic in occupational settings. Producers therefore apply some precautionary measures to protect their workers, but not for the protection of public health or environment. The issue of nanoparticles have a low priority among the regulatory bodies at the moment. The regulators are waiting for more scientific evidence and are therefore not taking any direct precautionary measures. (Less)
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author
Helland, Aasgeir
supervisor
organization
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
nanotechnology, environmental risk, health risk, precautionary measures, Environmental studies, Miljöstudier
language
English
id
1329339
date added to LUP
2006-09-06
date last changed
2006-09-06
@misc{1329339,
  abstract     = {Nanotechnology is a collective definition referring to every technology and science which operates on a nanoscale. Nanoparticles have different properties than larger particles and these properties can be utilized in a wide spectre of areas such as in medicine, information technologies, energy production and storage, materials, manufacturing and environmental applications.

Although nano-derived applications have great potentials, there are some concerns about the potential nanoparticles have to cause adverse effects on human health and the environment. The different properties that make nanoparticles so promising are at the same time properties that are likely to have impact on ecosystems and organisms.

This research maps out the current knowledge base of hazards and risks of nanoparticles to human health and the environment. Furthermore it investigates the perceptions that producers and regulatory bodies have of the risks and looks at the precautionary measures taken.

The main findings of this study are that nanoparticles cause more toxic effects in the lungs than bigger particles and can translocate within the environment and the body. However, nanoparticles are likely to cause different impacts to human health, occupation health and the environment, depending on the size, shape and chemical composition of the nanoparticle. There is therefore great uncertainty about what the actual risks of nanoparticle to human health and the environment are. Both industry and regulatory bodies are aware of the potential risks of nanoparticles. The producers do not believe that nanoparticles represent a risk to the environment, but sees that nanoparticles can be more problematic in occupational settings. Producers therefore apply some precautionary measures to protect their workers, but not for the protection of public health or environment. The issue of nanoparticles have a low priority among the regulatory bodies at the moment. The regulators are waiting for more scientific evidence and are therefore not taking any direct precautionary measures.},
  author       = {Helland, Aasgeir},
  keyword      = {nanotechnology,environmental risk,health risk,precautionary measures,Environmental studies,Miljöstudier},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Nanoparticles: A Closer Look at the Risks to Human Health and the Environment Perceptions and Precautionary Measures of Industry and Regulatory Bodies in Europe},
  year         = {2004},
}