For the safe use and handling of nanomaterials, there is a need for more knowledge of their properties and their potential environmental and health risks. To promote knowledge in this area, Swetox was commissioned by the government to develop a national platform for nanosafety in cooperation with authorities, academia, industry and organisations dealing with environmental, health and safety issues of nanomaterials. Subsequently, the Swedish National Platform for Nanosafety, SweNanoSafe, was established in 2016 at Swetox, an academic research center for chemicals, health and environment. The platform was launched in May 2016 with a kick-off conference that gathered approximately a hundred participants.
In order to promote the safe use and handling of manufactured nanomaterials, the platform aims to strengthen the cooperation between different stakeholders to ensure knowledge exchange in the field of nanosafety. In collaboration with various stakeholder groups, the platform aims to:
- Ensure knowledge building; assemble and disseminate knowledge on environmental, health and safety issues of nanomaterials, including improving the knowledge base by making scientific expertise available.
- Strengthen the education and training in nanosafety.
- Increase the knowledge on hurdles to a safe use and handling of nanomaterials and how these hurdles can be addressed. An important aspect is the integration of nanosafety early in the innovation process.
The platform will not conduct research or perform safety assessments.
Organisation for Cooperation
The activities of the platform are organised by the Project Team, see organisational scheme below. Senior advisors within the field of nanosafety, including Eva Hellsten, and on communication contribute to the platform through a reference group. For efficient cooperation, an expert panel has been established and a cooperation council for stakeholder groups and a web portal are currently being set up.
The Cooperation Council will consist of representatives from authorities, industry, NGO’s and academia. Currently, there is representation from the Swedish Chemicals Agency, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, the Swedish Work Environment Authority, the National Food Agency and the Medical Products Agency in Sweden. It is chaired by Heike Hellmold.
Through the council, the needs of information and knowledge about nanosafety among those who work within the field can be highlighted. Therefore, the council plays a key role in the platform ensuring that the benefit of the platform is maximised for the actors involved.
The Expert Panel consists of members with expertise from different disciplines within the field of nanosafety and is chaired by Bengt Fadeel. For the members of the expert panel, see the table below. One task of the panel is to ensure the quality and actuality of the knowledge generated and communicated via the platform. Through its multidisciplinary composition, an illumination of nanosafety issues from different perspectives will be enabled. Furthermore, the panel will contribute to building a network of nanosafety researchers in Sweden to improve the knowledge base of the platform.
Toxicology/Chair: Bengt Fadeel, Karolinska Institutet
Toxicology: Alexander Lyubartsev, Stockholm University
Ecotoxicology: Joachim Sturve, University of Gothenburg
Exposure: Maria Hedmer, Lund University, Jenny Rissler, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden
Materials Science: Kajsa Uvdal, Linköpings University
Andrea Fornara, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden (from December 2016 – 2017)
Risk Assessment: Gregory Moore, Swedish Chemicals Agency
Life Cycle Analysis: Rickard Arvidsson, Chalmers University of Technology
The platform is led by the Steering Committee, which is chaired by the head of Swetox, Åke Bergman. The Steering Committee consists of representatives from the Cooperation Council, the Expert Panel and the Project Team.
The Swedish Chemicals Agency contributes to the work of the platform through a constant dialogue and representation in the Steering Committee, the Cooperation Council and the Expert Panel.
The Web Portal (swenanosafe.se) is currently under development. The purpose of the portal is to serve as a source of knowledge in the field of nanosafety and to enable interaction between the different actors as a complement to the meetings, conferences and educational activities that the platform will organise.