The Safe-by-Design concept (SbD) incorporates safety of nano-enabled product (NEP) at the design stage of the production process. SbD reverses the paradigm of downstream risk analysis and management (‘is it safe?’, ‘can it be controlled?’, ‘does it transform?’) and pursues the production of less hazardous nano-products affording reduced exposure, mediated by the release of nanomaterials during the life-cycle1,2. The SbD production of NEPs
has been recently elaborated upon, and several EU funded projects have provided some tools, databases, and case studies for its implementation.
Despite the advantages that can be obtained, the current state of the art indicates that industrial production is struggling to activate the SbD approach and the fast industrial uptake of engineered nanomaterials (NMs) is missing or unsafely implemented. The delay of nanomanufacturing implementation in the industry is due to incorrect use, lack of NMs culture, and/or difficult access to better quality NMs due to cost or logistics reasons. Psychological difficulties due to the use of unregulated substances, easy access to non-quality-certified NMs, difficulties in following the fast technological evolution of NMs also play a role.