Safe(r) by design implementation in the nanotechnology industry

Araceli Sánchez Jiménez, Raquel Puelles, Marta Pérez-Fernández, Paloma Gómez-Fernández, Leire Barruetabeña, Nicklas Raun Jacobsen, Blanca Suarez-Merino, Christian Micheletti, Nicolas Manier, Bénédicte Trouiller, Jose Maria Navas, Judit Kalman, Beatrice Salieri, Roland Hischier, Yordan Handzhiyski, Margarita D. Apostolova, Niels Hadrup, Jacques Bouillard, Yohan Oudart, Cesar MerinoBiase Liguori, Stefania Sabella, Jerome Rose, Armand Masion, Karen S. Galea, Sean Kelly, Sandra Štěpánková, Catherine Mouneyrac, Andrew Barrick, Amélie Châtel, María Dusinska, Elise Rundén-Pran, Espen Mariussen, Christophe Bressot, Olivier Aguerre-Chariol, Neeraj Shandilya, Henk Goede, Julio Gomez-Cordon, Sophie Simar, Fabrice Nesslany, Keld Alstrup Jensen, Martie van Tongeren, Isabel Rodríguez Llopis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The implementation of Safe(r) by Design (SbD) in industrial innovations requires an integrated approach where the human, environmental and economic impact of the SbD measures is evaluated across and throughout the nanomaterial (NM) life cycle. SbD was implemented in six industrial companies where SbD measures were applied to NMs, nano-enabled products (NEPs) and NM/NEP manufacturing processes. The approach considers human and environmental risks, functionality of the NM/NEP and costs as early as possible in the innovation process, continuing throughout the innovation progresses. Based on the results of the evaluation, a decision has to be made on whether to continue, stop or re-design the NM/NEP/process or to carry out further tests/obtain further data in cases where the uncertainty of the human and environmental risks is too large. However, SbD can also be implemented at later stages when there is already a prototype product or process available, as demonstrated in some of the cases. The SbD measures implemented in some of the case studies did not result in a viable solution. For example the coating of silicon nanoparticles with amorphous carbon increased the conductivity, the stability and reduced the dustiness of the particles and therefore the risk of explosion and the exposure to workers. However the socioeconomic assessment for their use in lithium-ion batteries for cars, when compared to the use of graphite, showed that the increase in performance did not overcome the higher production costs. This work illustrates the complexities of selecting the most appropriate SbD measures and highlights that SbD cannot be solely based on a hazard and exposure assessment but must include other impacts that any SbD measures may have on sustainability including energy consumption and waste generation as well as all associated monetary costs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100267
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2020


  • Life cycle assessment
  • Nano-enabled products
  • Nanomaterials
  • Nanoparticle
  • Nanotechnology
  • Risk assessment
  • Safe by design


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