Economic and Industrial Hygiene Tradeoffs in Manufacturing

| June 4, 2013

NSF Grant Number: EEC-0425826
PI(s): J. Isaacs and J. Benneyan
Student Researcher: Z. Ok
Institution: Northeastern University

Figure 1. Comparison of HiPco production costs for each level of EHS standards.

Figure 1. Comparison of HiPco production costs for each level of EHS standards.

Objective: The goal of this research is the assessment of economic and environmental, health and safety attributes of process alternatives while in the developmental phase. Given the myriad of uncertainties, predictive models would be advantageous to help explore the potential tradeoffs, to develop useful information for private and regulatory decision-makers and for guiding research priorities.

Approach: Monte Carlo models and experimental design methods were used to study the implications of uncertainties regarding the long-term occupational health exposure risks, manufacturing costs, and inherent tradeoffs.

Broader Impact: This may lead to the development and successful commercialization of competitive, safe and environmentally responsible manufacturing technologies.

Figure 2. Joint probability density of HiPco manufacturing costs and exposure scale 0-10 (10 in high)

Figure 2. Joint probability density of HiPco manufacturing costs and exposure scale 0-10 (10 in high)

Significant Results: Assessing the tradeoffs between manufacturing costs and occupational health consequences of nanotechnology production processes is especially difficult given the limited data on the health effects of nanoparticles. Results underscore the observation that, given the extreme amount of uncertainty in the occupational exposure risks and costs of different levels of protection, policy and manufacturing decisions should not be based on expected values alone. The implications of experimental design studies suggest that the greatest reductions in the uncertainty of occupational risks and production costs would result from developing better estimates first for the probabilities of future EHS requirements and then for the cost and risks under low and high standards.