Call for the Development of an Adaptative Tool for Assessing Human Health Posed by Engineered Nanoparticle Risk

Call for the Development of an Adaptative Tool for Assessing Human Health Posed by Engineered Nanoparticle Risk

S. Nadeau S. Hallé C. Viau Y. Cloutier 

Department of Mechanical Engineering, École de technologie supérieure, Canada

Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, and Public Health Research Institute, Université de Montréal, Canada

Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail, Canada

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Assessing the risks associated with engineered nanoparticles (particles having at least one dimension in the 1–100 nm range) faces three major challenges: (1) lack of standard methodological approaches; (2) uncertainty surrounding the risk factors and their relative significance; and (3) lack of control strategies. Among the approaches that have been proposed are (1) adapting risk evaluation tools used in industrial hygiene; (2) use of evaluation concepts borrowed from the insurance industry; (3) determining the consensus among experts; (4) rating risk control measures; (5) construction of influence diagrams; and (6) use of techniques drawn from multi-criteria decision-making. Knowledge has advanced rapidly in the field of engineered nanoparticles, but comparison of studies is difficult and major gaps remain in the characterization of these materials and the risks they represent. Since they are already being introduced into commercial products and processes, the need is urgent for a flexible and dynamic tool for compiling and sharing detailed knowledge of the associated risks. Uncertainties need to be expressed and reduced. This tool must aid the decision-making of business managers, scientists, and other stakeholders. To the best of our knowledge, no approach suggested in the literature meets these criteria. Thus, the authors call to develop an adaptive, multidimensional decision support tool that indicates influence relationships among risk factors and fosters the gathering and sharing of knowledge, including uncertainties.


Decision-making processes, decision supports, engineered nanoparticles, risk assessment, risk management


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