On March 19, 2014 the Swiss insurer Zurich published a press release labeling the relatively new nanotechnology industry an ‘emerging risk’, with long-term perils of nanotechnology remaining unidentified. In the press release, Ian Price, Senior Casualty Underwriter at Zurich, states that “we still don’t know anything about the long-term effects of these particles if they have accumulated in the body or conglomerated into larger particles”. Andrew Auty, Director at Re: Liability (Oxford) Ltd. contends that regulators, insures and other risk managers are unable to produce reliable risk estimates of engineered nanomaterials’ risk as developing an intuitive sense of nanomaterials’ risk “based on precedent, analogy, trusted sources and meaning” remains impossible. Further, nanomaterials inclusion in products and processes are often unreported and risk management measures useful for some nanomaterials may be wholly inadequate for another. Insurers are thus cautious based on concerns regarding liability. Yet, great benefits may also result from nanomaterials, in particular in the areas of sporting equipment and electronics. Ian Price concludes it will take time to gain understanding of the benefits and risks that ensue from nanotechnology.
Zurich (March 19, 2014). “The unknown risks of nanotechnology.”