Risk Characterization for Nanotechnology

Authors


Address correspondence to Richard A. Williams, 3301 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22201 USA; rwilliav@gmu.edu.

Abstract

Nanotechnology is a broad term that encompasses materials, structures, or processes that utilize engineered nanomaterials, which can be defined as materials intentionally designed to have one or more dimensions between 1 and 100 nm. Historically, risk characterization has been viewed as the final phase of a risk assessment process that integrates hazard identification, dose-response assessment, and exposure assessment. The novelty and diversity of materials, structures, and tools that are covered by above-defined “nanotechnology” raise substantial methodological issues and pose significant challenges for each of these phases of risk assessment. These issues and challenges culminate in the risk characterization phase of the risk assessment process, and this article discusses several of these key issues and approaches to developing risk characterization results and their implications for risk management decision making that are specific to nanotechnology.

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