SafeNano Scientific Services to Help Companies Minimise the Environmental and Health Risks of Working with Nanomaterials

Published on January 10, 2008 at 10:33 AM

The Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) based in Edinburgh has launched a range of new services to help companies minimise the environmental and health risks of working with nanomaterials.

Complementing the IOM’s SAFENANO Information Service and Community Portal, SAFENANO Scientific Services will provide companies operating in the nanotechnology industry with a multidisciplinary range of solutions to ensure they can offer employees a safe and healthy working environment and end products that are safe for customers.

The development of nanotechnology is expected to drive major advances in medicine, drug discovery, security and defence. At a scale 10,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair, nanoparticles have unique properties that hold promise for the fabrication and assembly of ground-breaking new products in many industry sectors. However, there is currently little known about the long term consequences of working with nanomaterials.

SAFENANO Scientific Services, which is part-funded by Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian and the Technology Strategy Board, aims to provide greater insight into potential hazards of working with nanotechnology by offering companies expert advice and support to help ensure they meet regulatory duties, achieve effective product stewardship and manage potential liabilities towards users, customers and the environment.

SAFENANO Scientific Services offers laboratory services and testing, workplace occupational hygiene, toxicology reports and reviews, as well as related training for staff and management to aid companies in the development of effective nanotechnology risk management programmes.

“SAFENANO Scientific Services builds on the IOM’s international reputation as a leading provider of nanotechnology risk research and consultancy. Through provision of proactive risk assessment, these services will enable UK companies to access the best available support to ensure safe and responsible development of nanotechnology.” said Dr Rob Aitken, Director of the SAFENANO initiative.

SAFENANO Scientific Services is managed by the Institute of Occupational Medicine, in partnership with Napier University, who are recognised as a leading institution in nanoparticle toxicity assessment.

Professor Vicki Stone, Nanoparticle Toxicologist and Director of the Biomedicine and Sport Science Research Group at Napier University, said: “I am delighted to be part of this latest innovative project from SAFENANO – it is a great opportunity to start to address the real needs of industry in terms of assessing the safety of nanomaterials now and in future development, and is reflective of Napier’s commitment to working with industry and business.”

Neil Francis, Director of Growing Business at Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian, added: “Nanotechnology is widely believed to offer great potential for the development of new materials, products, processes and economic growth over the coming years.

“It is, however, recognised that there are still some uncertainties concerning the risks that some of these new materials may pose to the health of those working with them, the wider public and to the general environment. Having an organisation like IOM and the services of SAFENANO in Scotland gives us a significant advantage and reinforces our expertise in this area, which companies working with this technology will be able to benefit from.”

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