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January 13, 2023

SweNanoSafe Publishes Notes from Fifth Annual Research Network Workshop

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On November 25, 2022, the Swedish National Platform for Nanosafety (SweNanoSafe) and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) held the Fifth Annual Research Network Workshop. According to SweNanoSafe’s December 20, 2022, announcement, the online workshop was chaired by Geert Cornelis and attracted some 40 participants. SweNanoSafe has posted an overview of the workshop contents that includes a summary of the key outcomes. According to the report, the breakout sessions identified difficulties in current research and future challenges:

  • From the breakout session on measurements, the two main points concerned analytical challenges and information sharing or transfer. Materials expected to be relevant in the future, such as silicon carbide and graphene, “pose analytical challenges and are difficult to measure with currently available techniques.” Open data and information sharing was also noted as a challenging area.
  • The breakout session on exposure highlighted several knowledge gaps connected to understanding and modeling the environmental fate of advanced materials. According to the report, “[a] major challenge is to ascertain what organisms truly are exposed to, in the environment as well as our testing systems.” There is also the question of transformation and its reversibility in different uses and life cycles. Advanced materials consist of multiple compounds, posing challenges to understanding processes affecting fate and toxicity.
  • During the breakout session on effects, the discussions connected to the issues of the definition of advanced materials and communication. To date, there is no clear and broadly agreed upon definition of advanced materials, nor is there an agreement on whether the focus of such a definition should be on the material or on the advanced function. It can furthermore be questioned whether the term advanced materials is relevant in the context of hazard assessment. Developing new approaches to hazard assessment and the use of non-standard data will require communication with regulators, and researchers and regulators need to understand each other’s viewpoints to make progress in this area.

According to SweNanoSafe, the slides from the presentations will be available shortly.