Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, has the potential to revolutionize many industries. But like any new innovation, it creates new risks. The Praedicat approach to risk identification is to find what scientists identify and study and how they characterize the severity of these new risks.
Cutting edge emerging risk management requires not just assessing the current state of knowledge, it requires looking around the corner to see what the future may bring. We worked with AIG’s ERM and Risk Consulting teams to look around the corner on additive manufacturing. We start with the state of the science today and then use predictive modeling to see where it is headed.
Early research has not focused on the potential for bodily injury due to emissions from additive manufacturing technologies, but the seeds are there, and attention is building. As the technology permeates more industries and becomes ubiquitous, industrious scientists will be tracking populations and examining the health effects of additive manufacturing as they emerge, if they emerge. Predictive modeling is the key to looking around this corner.
Our research indicates that some commonly used additive manufacturing materials have the potential to cause worker injuries. This includes the inhalation of ultrafine metal and other nanoparticles along with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that have the potential to cause adverse health impacts such as lung and nervous system injury, mental impairment, various forms of cancer, and hearing loss. While the science is in different states of maturity, some exposure and disease combinations are well-supported while others continue to develop.