The development of nanomaterials - defined as having at least one dimension of 100 nanometres or less – is an area of science and industry expected to yield numerous technological advances. More than 1 500 European businesses are now involved in the production of substances at nanoscale and nanomaterials are providing a proliferation of new products in textiles and coatings in particular.
However, the unique properties of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) also create potential health risks. Nano-particles are released into the environment both intentionally and unintentionally throughout the ENM lifecycle (production, use and disposal). This is believed to create risks of bioaccumulation in soil and water or excessive absorption through the skin, with consequent negative effects on environmental and human health.
There is already increasing evidence of ecotoxicological effects on key species and communities, including the inhibition of seed germination and root growth, and oxidative stress in algae. Relevant regulations, including REACH, are having to be updated regularly to keep up with the technical advances in nanotechnology. This creates challenges for legislators. However, it also creates problems for companies involved in nanotechnologies, many of whom are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They have to continually increase and renew their knowledge in relation to the environmental consequences of their work and the evolving legislation, including the administrative procedures that they must fulfil.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM TARGETED
Nanomaterials production involves several potential environmental risks directly related to the production process (production, functionalisation and incorporation into nanocomposites), and nanowastes generated could comprise items such as contaminated wipes, filters and discarded components. Assessment of their impact is a function of their intrinsic characteristics, the manufacturing process, size of batch production, storage and distribution. In general, companies involved in nanotechnology have a high technological background. However, usually there is a lack of knowledge related to environmental aspects, their impact, the laws that the companies must comply and the required administrative/bureaucratic procedures.
The project objectives: To contribute to the efficient implantation of the environmental policy and legislation in nanomaterials manufacturers companies, specially SMEs. It includes the development of an interactive platform (e-tool) for environmental self diagnosis addressed to nanoparticles manufacturers in European countries
1- A tool for evaluation their environmental status engaged to nanomaterials production.
2- A Guideline to manage their environmental impact
3- Implemented e-tool in European nanomaterials companies.
-Initial implant the e-tool to 6% of nanomaterials manufacturer in Europe.
-Implant the e-tool to 50% of the nanomaterials manufacturer in Europe.