The project "Nano Safety - Risk Governance of Manufactured Nanoparticles" for the Science and Technology Options Assessment (STOA) Panel of the European Parliament that ended on October 31st, 2011, has published its final report (issued in February 2012). The project was conducted by a joint group of researchers at the Institute of Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS), Karlsruhe, and at the Institute for Technology Assessment (ITA), Vienna, led by Torsten Fleischer.
The final report that concludes the project deals with the potential environmental, health, and safety (EHS) risks of manufactured particulate nanomaterials (MPN). Because of the great uncertainties regarding their actual impact on health and on the environment and because of numerous methodological challenges while establishing risk assessment procedures (toxicology, exposure and hazard assessments, life cycle assessment, analytics, and others), the risk management of MPN is confronted with serious challenges. At the same time, precautionary regulatory actions with regard to MPN are demanded by a number of stakeholders and by parts of the general public. Regulation under uncertainty raises fundamental political questions about how lawmakers should regulate risks on the evidence of such uncertainty. To explore this issue in greater detail, the project has focused on two important perspectives of regulation: Risk management strategies for MPN as discussed or proposed for the EU or for its member states, and the problems and needs of risk communication regarding EHS risks of MPN. The findings of the project were discussed with MEPs in several workshops. In addition, the project has used a participatory method in order to investigate the expectations of the general public towards risk communication.