The Horizon 2020 ProSafe project is a coordination and support activity for nanotechnology health and safety projects funded by the European Commission. Work Package 2 of ProSafe includes a Foresight activity intended to explore the question of whether our risk management capabilities are on pace with the new uses for the technology. WP2 is lead by the Institute of Occupational Medicine.
An online Delphi Forum on whether risk management is on pace with innovation for nanomaterial uses has been initiated by the project. Expert discussion between those working with manufacture and health and safety of specific nanomaterial uses will be used to develop a white paper proposing a path forward for risk management policies for nanomaterial uses.
The Delphi forum is planned to include 4 steps. First was assembly of a “Core Group” of 10 experts in nanotechnology use and risk management from different stakeholder and regional perspectives. These experts were given a general task of advising development of questions and invitation lists stemming from the basic goal of soliciting expert discussion on whether risk management is on pace with innovation for nanotechnology uses. The second step was to implement the questions developed with the Core Group using an online questionnaire sent to a broad list of experts around the world. The third step was to hold nanomaterial specialty group and risk assessment roundtable discussions at the annual meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis in Washington DC to review the questions and responses. The fourth and final round of the forum will be administration of a small number of clarifying questions to the broad list of experts.
UPDATE: The final round of the forum closed on July 15, 2016 with over 200 experts participating. Results of this round can be viewed at https://scipinion.com/ using the code “ProSafe”. You may need to register.
The results are showing that most experts see a need for improvement in exposure methods and in implementation of safe by design in nanomaterial uses. These findings will be considered in light of previous rounds of the forum in a report delivered to the ProSafe Consortium and considered in workshops planned by the consortium for early 2017.