John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Silver (Ag and Nano-Ag), an emerging contaminant in the Gironde estuary: Scientific assessments and risk governance Volume 12, issue 4, Juillet-Août 2013


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IRSTEA ADBX Unité Aménités et dynamiques des espaces ruraux - Centre de Bordeaux 50, avenue de Verdun Gazinet 33612 Cestas cedex France, Transferts géochimiques des métaux à l’interface continent océan UMR 5805 EPOC - OASU Site de Talence - Université Bordeaux 1 Avenue des Facultés 33405 Talence cedex France, IFREMER Centre Atlantique Unité Biogéochimie et écotoxicologie Rue de l’Ile d’Yeu BP 21105 44311 Nantes cedex 03 France, IFREMER Centre Atlantique Laboratoire Biogéochimie des contaminants métalliques Rue de l’Ile d’Yeu BP 21105 44311 Nantes cedex 03 France

This article presents the results of multidisciplinary research (geochemistry, sociology) into the increasing concentrations of silver (Ag and nanoAg) in the environment and their potential impact on aquatic environments. We investigate simultaneously the risk of contamination of these environments by silver and the process of the social and political construction of this risk by water managers, health authorities, agencies and committees responsible for expert evaluations, environmental associations, and potential users of silver or nano-silver. Four updated models of risk construction allow us to understand the logic of arguments mobilized at this stage of the emerging risk. This interdisciplinary cooperation opens up possibilities for dealing with some environmental health issues; it highlights the benefits of an approach aiming to disseminate knowledge to enable action and to promote awareness and analysis by the local stakeholders and officials who face this emerging problem.