International conference on the safety of nanoparticles
At the Nanosafety 2013 Conference, participants from over 20 countries met at Saarbuecken Castle to discuss what effect nanoparticles have on people and their environment.
Scratch-resistant protective coatings, anti-corrosion protection, rapid-charge batteries, optical coatings for displays - they all contain nanoparticles, and with potential new applications on the horizon the issue of the safety of these particles arises. At the Nanosafety 2013 Conference, participants from over 20 countries met at Saarbuecken Castle to discuss what effect nanoparticles have on people and their environment. They also looked at the question of what data should be produced for the safe handling of nanoparticles. The INM - Leibniz Institute for New Materials organised this conference as part of the Leibniz Nanosafety Research Network.
The conference run from Wednesday 20 November and was opened by Eduard Arzt, Scientific Director and CEO of the INM, along with representatives of the Chancellery of Saarland, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). It ended on Friday 22 November with a closing round of discussions and guided tours of the INM.
A total of around 40 presentations, workshops and discussion groups gave participants the opportunity to exchange views on the following questions:What methods are available to detect nanoparticles?How can nanoparticles be determined in living systems?How do nanoparticles behave in living cells and organisms?What impact do nanoparticles have on the environment?How can the term nanoparticles be defined?Can European legislation provide a clear definition and procedures for dealing with nanomaterials?How can effects of nanomaterials be predicted on computer? "The questions are very varied because nano and nano are not the same thing", explains Annette Kraegeloh, Head of the Nano Cell Interactions Program Division at the INM. "It all comes down to the fact that how a material is measured can have a bearing on its classification, because the number of particles and their size are both key factors in deciding whether a material is a nanomaterial.
But joint agreement can only be reached if researchers can also internationally find common ground on concepts if we are talking about definitions or actions of particles.
Scientists at the conference have therefore been discussing with, among others, representatives from industry, the European Commission and the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which ways of looking at issues can play a part in dealing with nanomaterials on a health basis. Apart from a simple definition of the size of the particles, this includes for example limits, routes of absorption in the organism and action principles.
The focus of the conference is the behaviour of nanoparticles in living cells. "We use various methods to do this. One way is for us to investigate human cells "in the test tube", in other words in vitro. Another option is testing in living systems, for example in mice and rats - in vivo. However, our aim is to keep the number of animal experiments in nanosafety research to a minimum, and to this end we are also investigating the impact of nanoparticles ex vivo, in other words in living organ systems without needing an entire animal to do this", the Coordinator of the Research Network outlines the research ethos.
In addition, the scientists will also discuss how, without any cells at all, it is possible to predict on computer which properties make nanoparticles safe.
The Nanosafety Research Network started life in mid-2012. The spokesperson for the Research Network is Eduard Arzt, Scientific Director and CEO of the INM. For further information on the Nanosafety Research Network go to www.leibniz-gemeinschaft.de/forschung/leibniz-forschungsverbuende/nanosicherheit/
Leibniz institutions join forces in Leibniz Research Networks to work on current scientifically and socially relevant questions on an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary basis. The Research Networks are designed to look ahead five to fifteen years and are open to cooperation with universities, other non-university research and infrastructure institutions, and research groups abroad.
Downlaod Press release: 131127 International conference on the safety of nanoparticles
Contact for the Nanosafety Research Network
Dr. Annette Kraegeloh
INM - Leibniz Institute for New Materials
Head of the Nano Cell Interactions Program Division
Coordinator of the Leibniz Nanosafety Research Network
INM conducts research and development to create new materials - for today, tomorrow and beyond. Chemists, physicists, biologists, materials scientists and engineers team up to focus on these essential questions: Which material properties are new, how can they be investigated and how can they be tailored for industrial applications in the future? Four research thrusts determine the current developments at INM: New materials for energy application, new concepts for implant surfaces, new surfaces for tribological applications and nanosafety/nanobio interaction. Research at INM is performed in three fields: Chemical Nanotechnology, Interface Materials, and Materials in Biology.
INM - Leibniz Institute for New Materials, situated in Saarbruecken, is an internationally leading centre for materials research. It is an institute of the Leibniz Association and has about 190 employees.