Depledge, Michael3, Hansen, Steffen Foss1, Howard, Charles V.3, Martuzzi, Marco3
Report of the WHO expert meeting 10–11 December 2012, Bonn, Germany
Nanotechnology, the science and application of objects smaller that 100 nanometres, is evolving rapidly in many fields. Besides the countless beneficial applications, including in health and medicine, concerns exist on adverse health consequences of unintended human exposure to nanomaterials. In the 2010 Parma Declaration on Environment and Health, ministers of health and of environment of the 53 Member States of the WHO Regional Office for Europe listed the health implications of nanotechnology and nanoparticles among the key environment and health challenges. The WHO Regional Office for Europe undertook a critical assessment of the current state of knowledge and the key evidence on the possible health implications of nanomaterials, with a view to identify options for risk assessment and policy formulation, and convened an expert meeting to address the issue. Current evidence is not conclusive. As complexity and uncertainty are large, risk assessment is challenging, and formulation of evidence-based policies and regulations elusive. Innovative models and frameworks for risk assessment and risk governance are being developed and applied to organize the available evidence on biological and health effects of nanomaterials in ways to inform policy.