Parlez-vous Nano? EDF and DuPont translate Nano Risk Framework

Scott Walsh Scott Walsh, MBA, is a Project Manager.

Nanotechnology is a global phenomenon:  Organizations all over the world are working to develop and deploy nanotechnology applications.  Interest in minimizing the potential health, environmental and safety risks of nanotechnology is similarly global.  One of many indications:  Over the past year, EDF and DuPont’s Nano Risk Framework  has been downloaded more than 3,000 times in nearly 100 countries.

Recognizing the international interest in the Framework, EDF and DuPont have now made it available in three major languages: Mandarin, French, and Spanish. (The Framework’s executive summary is also available in Portuguese.) These translations will allow organizations around the world to better understand and apply the Framework’s guidance to assess, mitigate, and communicate about potential nanomaterial risks.

EDF and DuPont launched a partnership in September 2005 to develop a systematic and disciplined process for evaluating and addressing the environmental, health and safety risks of nanomaterials across all stages of a product’s lifecycle – from initial sourcing through manufacture, use and recycling or disposal.  One of the goals of our partnership was to provide input into the ongoing development of policies and practices to address potential nano risks.

A few examples show that our work has had a broad reach:  The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials, for example, has said it has benefited from the Framework as practical input into its nanotechnology programs.  Lloyd’s, the UK’s famous insurance syndicate, has encouraged insurers “to seek evidence of whether projects they are covering have followed this Framework.” Here in the U.S., the Framework has been praised by companies ranging from large multinationals like GE to small startups like Nanostellar.

In developing the Framework, we collected feedback from nanotechnology stakeholders around the world.  In translating the Framework, we hope to return the favor by making this guidance more accessible to more people across the globe, whether they live in Brasilia or Beijing, Madrid or Marseilles.  When it comes to nanotechnology safety, in more ways than one, it’s a small world after all.

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