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January 5, 2022

SweNanoSafe Publishes Executive Summary for Report on Safe and Sustainable Nanotechnology Innovation

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On December 22, 2021, the Swedish National Platform for Nanosafety (SweNanoSafe) announced the availability of the executive summary for a report entitled “Toward Safe and Sustainable Nanotechnology Innovation.” SweNanoSafe and researchers from the Action Research Center for a Resilient Society, Sari Scheinberg and Sverker Alänge, commissioned a study to contribute to knowledge and understanding, to create new ways of meeting, and to gather information on how stakeholders work with nano innovation and nanosafety today. According to the executive summary, a key question was how to create and maintain a sustainable workflow in industry, government, and academia that strengthens and integrates a safe and responsible process of research, innovation, and utilization at all stages of the life cycle of engineered nanomaterials. Representatives from different stakeholder groups participated in discussions to identify and develop a process that would contribute to the improved implementation of a responsible research and innovation (RRI) approach. The executive summary states that the study “has shown the urgency of establishing collaboration between stakeholders about nanosafety practices in the form of a ‘safety network’ involving all stakeholders to shorten the time to market for safer substances, chemical products, and articles.” The recommendations identified in the project include the following proposals for action on the sustainable development, safe innovation, and safe handling of engineered nanomaterials:

  • Enabling online access for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to full-text scientific journals, as well as databases of peer-reviewed literature, books, and conference proceedings. Moreover, aiding SMEs to access research data for any specific nanomaterial, also statistically non-significant;
  • Supporting rapid and safe innovation through effective dissemination of safety research and preparedness for regulatory changes;
  • Enhancing dialogue between industry (SMEs) and government (the Swedish Chemicals Agency (KEMI)) regarding safety issues, services provided, and coming regulation and legislation (regulatory preparedness);
  • Guiding and advising SMEs on safe handling of engineered nanomaterials, safety testing, and implementation of the regulation;
  • Investigating the prospect of realizing a national strategy for safe nanotechnology development; and
  • Developing training that should be available for companies to increase their knowledge and skills, such as how to comply with the regulation and how to identify and manage the risks linked to the engineered nanomaterials they manufacture and/or market.