Risk assessment of engineered nanomaterials: A survey of industrial approaches

Aasgeir Helland, Martin Scheringer, Michael Siegrist, Hans G. Kastenholz, Arnim Wiek, Roland W. Scholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


Engineered nanomaterials pose many new questions on risk assessment that are not yet completely answered. Thus, voluntary industrial risk assessment initiatives can be considered vital to the environmental health and safety issues associated with engineered nanomaterials. We present an overview of the general properties of nanomaterial products in the market, and how industry, in general, approaches issues of nanomaterial risk and safety based on a written survey of 40 companies working with nanomaterials in Germany and Switzerland. It was found that the nanomaterials in this sample exhibited such a diversity of properties that a categorization according to risk and material issues could not be made. Twenty-six companies (65%) indicated that they did not perform any risk assessment of their nanomaterials and 13 companies (32.5%) performed risk assessments sometimes or always. Fate of nanomaterials in the use and disposal stage received little attention by industry and the majority of companies did not foresee unintentional release of nanomaterials throughout the life cycle. The development of risk and safety decision frameworks in industry seems therefore necessary to ensure that the potential risks of engineered nanomaterials are taken into consideration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)640-646
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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