• Risk analysis and technology assessment in support of technology development: Putting responsible innovation in practice in a case study for nanotechnology.

      van Wezel, Annemarie P; van Lente, Harro; van de Sandt, Johannes Jm; Bouwmeester, Hans; Vandeberg, Rens Lj; Sips, Adrienne Jam (2018-01)
      Governments invest in "key enabling technologies," such as nanotechnology, to solve societal challenges and boost the economy. At the same time, governmental agencies demand risk reduction to prohibit any often unknown adverse effects, and industrial parties demand smart approaches to reduce uncertainties. Responsible research and innovation (RRI) is therefore a central theme in policy making. Risk analysis and technology assessment, together referred to as "RATA," can provide a basis to assess human, environmental, and societal risks of new technological developments during the various stages of technological development. This assessment can help both governmental authorities and innovative industry to move forward in a sustainable manner. Here we describe the developed procedures and products and our experiences to bring RATA in practice within a large Dutch nanotechnology consortium. This is an example of how to put responsible innovation in practice as an integrated part of a research program, how to increase awareness of RATA, and how to help technology developers perform and use RATA. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2018;14:9-16. © 2017 The Authors. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry (SETAC).
    • Risks of Plastic Debris: Unravelling Fact, Opinion, Perception, and Belief.

      Koelmans, Albert A; Besseling, Ellen; Foekema, Edwin; Kooi, Merel; Mintenig, Svenja; Ossendorp, Bernadette C; Redondo-Hasselerharm, Paula E; Verschoor, Anja; van Wezel, Annemarie P; Scheffer, Marten (2017-10-17)
      Researcher and media alarms have caused plastic debris to be perceived as a major threat to humans and animals. However, although the waste of plastic in the environment is clearly undesirable for aesthetic and economic reasons, the actual environmental risks of different plastics and their associated chemicals remain largely unknown. Here we show how a systematic assessment of adverse outcome pathways based on ecologically relevant metrics for exposure and effect can bring risk assessment within reach. Results of such an assessment will help to respond to the current public worry in a balanced way and allow policy makers to take measures for scientifically sound reasons.