Integrating life cycle assessment into managing potential EHS risks of engineered nanomaterials: reviewing progress to date

  • William C. Walker
  • Christopher J. BossoEmail author
  • Matthew Eckelman
  • Jacqueline A. Isaacs
  • Leila Pourzahedi


The 2011 National Nanotechnology Initiative’s Environmental Health and Safety Research Strategy stressed the need for research to integrate life cycle considerations into risk management and, then, to better integrate risk assessment into decisionmaking on environmental, health, and safety (EHS) dimensions of nanomanufacturing. This paper reviews scholarly articles published 2010–2015 that in some way apply life cycle analysis to nanotechnology to assess the extent to which current research reflects the priorities lain out in the NNI report. As the NNI’s focus was primarily on the “responsible development of nanotechnology” we also focus our examination on the ways in which LCA, in concert with other methodologies, can provide utility to decision makers facing the challenge of implementing that broad goal. We explore some of the challenges and opportunities inherent in using LCA, a tool built to optimize manufacturing decisions, as a guide for policy formulation or tool for policy implementation.


Engineered nanomaterials Sustainable nanomanufacturing Life cycle assessment Risk management Responsible development Decision-making Environmental and health effects 



This research was supported by a National Science Foundation Scalable Nanomanufacturing award (CMMI-1120329). The views expressed are those of the authors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • William C. Walker
    • 1
  • Christopher J. Bosso
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matthew Eckelman
    • 2
  • Jacqueline A. Isaacs
    • 3
  • Leila Pourzahedi
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Public Policy and Urban AffairsNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical and Industrial EngineeringNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA

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