On February 26, 2007 the Environmental Defense Fund - Dupont Nano Partnership (the “Partnership”) released its first draft Nano Risk Framework (the “Framework”). The Framework’s purpose is to establish an ordered process for identifying, managing and reducing potential risks from nanoscale materials from the time of manufacture to the time of ultimate disposal. The Framework is intended to be broadly applicable to organizations that are “actively working with nanomaterials and developing associated products and applications,” and is designed to evolve as more information regarding nanoscale materials becomes public. The Framework is comprised of the following six steps:
1. Describe Material and Application. The Framework user describes the nanomaterial and its uses.
2. Profile Lifecycle(s). The Framework user profiles a nanomaterial’s physical and chemical properties; potential safety, health, and environmental hazards; and opportunities for human or environmental exposure to the nanomaterial (either through intended use or by accident).
3. Evaluate Risks. The information generated by Steps 1 and 2 is reviewed and analyzed to “identify and characterize the nature, magnitude, and probability of risks presented by this particular nanomaterial and its anticipated application.”
4. Assess Risk Management. The Framework user weighs options (such as engineering controls, protective equipment, risk communication, and product or process modifications) for managing the risks identified in Step 3 and decides on a preliminary course of action.
5. Decide, Document, and Act. In light of the decision engendered by Step 4, the Framework user then consults with a review team and decides if it should continue development and production of the nanoscale materials.
6. Review and Adapt. As new information about or new uses for particular nanoscale materials comes into being, Step 6 requires a user to analyze the Framework itself to determine whether it still offers utility or whether adaptations must be made.