Risk management of nanomaterials.
Nanotechnology has become the focus of a large amount of scientific, political, and financial interest. Limited information on the exposure to nanomaterials is available, with only a few occupational exposure studies having been performed. While laboratory animal studies on the biological effects of some nanomaterials have been published, no epidemiological studies have been reported to date. This lack of data on exposure and human health effects hinders risk assessment of these materials. As the use of nanomaterials increases rapidly, it is of vital importance that the risk assessment community understands the complexities of the issues surrounding the manufacture, use and disposal of nanomaterials, the potential of environmental and occupational exposure to human populations, as well as adverse health outcomes. For this to happen, it is in many ways necessary for the scientific community to also understand what questions risk assessors need to ask, and what research will best answer them. Risk management of nanomaterials requires more information as to the human and ecological effects of exposure to various nanomaterials. At this time, there are no specific regulations for nanomaterials, but a few efforts to include nanomaterials under existing environmental regulations have begun. The purpose of this article is to describe the potential regulations for nanomaterials, and the current issues related to the risk assessment of nanomaterials.
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