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Safe use of nanoparticles

BASF toxicologists participate in an EU research project

 

Scientists from BASF are successfully participating in strategic research projects funded by the European Union. As of April 2005, for example, BASF experts are cooperating with 23 partners from seven EU countries in an important large-scale project aimed at developing methods for the safe use of nanoparticles: Nanosafe2. This European research project brings together scientists from leading companies in industry, startups, and selected research institutes and universities. Of the total budget of approximately €12.4 million, around €7 million is being provided by the EU's research funding program and the remainder by the companies involved.

The nanosciences are considered to be a key technology of the 21st century, and this is supported by a rapidly growing range of possible applications. Nanotechnology is acting as a motor for new materials and innovative solutions in the areas of energy, medicine and environmental protection. Appropriate research into safety is therefore crucial to the dynamic and sustainable development of these new fields. “BASF's involvement in the Nanosafe2 project is a good example of our proactive stance in the area of risk avoidance,” said Dr. Marcos Gomez from the University Relations and Research Planning department, who coordinates BASF's involvement in EU projects.

The key goal of the Nanosafe2 research program is to establish processes to detect, track and characterize nanoparticles. Such methods are a prerequisite for determining any possible risks to man or the environment, and for further optimizing the safety of production processes and plants. Nanosafe2 looks at the entire lifecycle of nanoparticles, from their production and storage through to transport and use in a finished product. The results of the research will subsequently be made available worldwide in the form of databases, official procedures and workshops.

“As part of the EU project, we will be carrying out studies to increase our understanding of the possible health risks associated with the inhalation of nanoparticles,” explained Dr. Edgar Leibold from BASF's Toxicology department. Currently, there are not enough scientific data on how certain nanoparticles behave inside the body, so Nanosafe2 will play an important role in this regard. Because the emphasis of the project lies on workplace and plant safety, BASF is also involved in developing physical measurement methods and measuring equipment to reliably detect nanoparticles. “The goal of Nanosafe2 is to ensure the safe use of nanoparticulate materials,” said Leibold. “We are excited about being involved in this project


 

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