Society For Risk Analysis Annual Meeting 2012

Advancing Analysis

Session Schedule & Abstracts

* Disclaimer: All presentations represent the views of the authors, and not the organizations that support their research. Please apply the standard disclaimer that any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations in abstracts, posters, and presentations at the meeting are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other organization or agency. Meeting attendees and authors should be aware that this disclaimer is intended to apply to all abstracts contained in this document. Authors who wish to emphasize this disclaimer should do so in their presentation or poster. In an effort to make the abstracts as concise as possible and easy for meeting participants to read, the abstracts have been formatted such that they exclude references to papers, affiliations, and/or funding sources. Authors who wish to provide attendees with this information should do so in their presentation or poster.

Common abbreviations

Emerging Technologies: Nano to Synthetic Bio

Room: Pacific Concourse N   3:30 - 5 PM

Chair(s): Christian Beaudrie

Sponsored by ENMSG

W4-J.1  15:30  Tracking Media and Internet Coverage of Nanotechnology's Risks Over the Years. Friedman SM*, Egolf BP; Lehigh University

Abstract: Since the early days of nanotechnology, its potential risks have been discussed in scientific, governmental and media circles. This presentation will review results of a study that has tracked coverage of specific health, environmental and societal risks from 2000 through 2011 in 33 U.S. and U.K. newspapers and two wire services, and in the 2010 to 2011 coverage of the web-only newspaper, the New Haven Independent (NHI). Among the health risks tracked were those related to damage to lungs, skin, brain, cells, and other organ and body systems. The environmental risks tracked included contamination of water, air, soil and landfills, and damage to plants, wildlife and bacteria. Among the societal risks tracked were concerns about general safety, occupational effects, side effects of runaway technology, and social, ethical and financial issues. Coverage over time of regulation related to these issues will also be discussed. By following these variables over time, it is possible to understand whether concerns about specific health, environmental, and societal risks have changed. This research is part of a 12-year longitudinal study of nanotechnology risk coverage in the U.S. and U.K. media, plus a two-year study of Internet coverage by the NHI. The presentation also will include results of a pilot study of the number of Google News risk and safety articles about these health, environmental and societal variables found in four randomly sampled months in 2010 and 2011.

W4-J.2  15:50  Strategies to Develop Occupational Exposure Limits and Hazard Bands for Nanomaterials. Kuempel ED*; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Abstract: In the absence of specific OELs for nanomaterials, evidence-based strategies are needed to make informed decisions about the type and level of exposure controls to protect workers’ health. Current knowledge of inhalation hazards in the workplace indicates that nanomaterials may pose similar or greater risks of occupational lung diseases given similar exposures. When specific health effects data are limited, hazard and control banding schemes are often used to make exposure control decisions. However, evaluation of the efficacy of these banding schemes is needed, especially for chronic health hazards. When comparative toxicity data are available, initial OELs could be developed for nanomaterials by comparison to benchmark/reference particles (substances with risk estimates and OELs) within the same category. Categories of nanomaterials have been proposed based on their physical-chemical properties and biological mode-of-action data. Case studies are presented of substances in each category, including nanomaterials and other respirable particles and fibers with short- or long-term dose-response data in animals and/or humans. Pulmonary response endpoints evaluated include inflammation, fibrosis, and lung cancer. A systematic comparison of lung effects and risk estimates is shown for nanomaterials and benchmark particles, and additional data gaps are identified. These analyses illustrate standard quantitative criteria for evaluating and deriving occupational exposure limits or bands.

W4-J.3  16:10  Nanotechnology EHS considerations for waste management. Sheremeta L*; NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR NANOTECHNOLOGY

Abstract: “Nanotechnology” is a broad descriptor that is used to encompass many novel materials, devices, products and techniques. It is an important strategic focus of governments around the world in their effort to compete in the knowledge-based economy. At its core, nanotechnology is substantially about the intentional manipulation of matter at the level of atoms and molecules with the intent to create new materials, devices and products with improved performance characteristics over the larger-scale materials and technologies that are more commonly employed. The express manipulation of material properties and the recognition that nano-scale materials can behave differently in biological systems than their macro-scale counterparts has led to concern that nanotechnology development is proceeding too quickly and that we do not know enough to responsibly manage the attendant risks. Environmental health and safety research has been recognized as an important area of endeavor across the life cycle. Concerns from the waste management perspective have received little attention to date. This presentation will consider tangible examples of materials, devices, products and techniques and the end of life issues that are raised. The need for a robust life cycle approach to understand and manage nanotechnology risks and benefits will be highlighted. Ways in which the international community might prioritize and collaboratively fill existing knowledge gaps will be considered.

W4-J.4  16:30  Emerging Technologies: friend or foe? Can structured expert judgment help deciding? Flari V*, Neslo R, Chaudhry Q, Hugo S, Kerrins G, Blackburn J, Hart A; Government; Academia

Abstract: Although innovative emerging technologies are exciting, they still create room for potential risks for which we have so far not been prepared to fully understand and assess. Most recent examples of such emerging technologies include nanotechnology and synthetic biology both of which offer enabling platforms for exciting prospects and potentially an enormous number of benefits for the consumer and the environment. Nevertheless, new technologies, including converging ones, may be accompanied by risks to human health and/or the environment. Currently real risks of emerging sciences and technologies are difficult to address due to lack of knowledge on how new molecules or organisms or materials could behave in different environments. Additionally, lessons learnt from GMO technologies indicate that one may need to differentiate real risks from perceived risks. In order to ensure that we would continue benefiting from progression in science the question becomes “how precautionary or non-precautionary the approach to risk assessment should be, and how do we warrant responsible innovation”? We held two (1 ½ days each) experts’ workshops at the Food and Environment Research Agency to address these issues (Sep 2011). At the 1st workshop we elicited experts’ individual opinions on (a) factors influencing the development of nanotechnology enabled consumer products, (b) criteria to be considered to assess safety, and (c) ranking preferences of ways to regulate safety for such products. The 2nd workshop focused on new prospects and potential pitfalls of synthetic biology; we applied structured methods to elicit experts’ views on (a) beneficial applications (in health, food, energy sectors) that could be developed until 2021, (b) factors that may influence their development and (c) intentional and unintentional risks they may carry. Results from the experts’ workshops are discussed within the context of lessons learnt from GMO technologies’ debate, and our work on applying expert judgment to assess environmental risks of genetically modified human and veterinary medicines.

W4-J.5  16:50  Changing Chasses and Inventing Elements: Developing a combined systems biology and engineering approach to designing complex function in cells. Arkin AP*; University of California Berkeley & Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Abstract: To meet the goal of creating reliable, predictable, efficient, and transparent methods to harness cellular capabilities for human benefit, it is necessary both to have standard libraries of elements from which useful pathways can be constructed and an understanding of the how host physiology and the environment impact the functioning of these heterologous circuits. We show how variations in cellular and environmental context affect the operation of the basic central dogma functions underlying gene expression. Then we describe progress on creating complete, scalable, and relatively homogeneous and designable sets of part-families that can control central dogma function predictably in the face of varying configurations, genetic contexts, and environments.

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