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Thursday, 15 July 2021

ICN2 collaborates with NanoExplore to study potential adverse effects of nanoparticles

Volunteers among the ICN2 members are taking part in a pilot study, which is part of the EU funded NanoExplore project. The main goal of this research is to investigate potential health adverse effects caused by exposure to nanoparticles and to promote policies for the safe use of these materials.

The ICN2 is participating as one of the institutes under study in a EU funded project called NanoExplore, which aims at assessing potential risks for the human health caused by handling nanomaterials. The current first stage of the project is devoted to evaluating which biological markers provide best information about exposure to nanomaterials and ultrafine particles and their adverse health effects in the working environment. This pilot study is being conducted in institutes and companies producing or manipulating nanomaterials in Switzerland, Italy, Spain, France and Germany.

Volunteers from our institute have accepted to take part, chosen both among researchers (supposedly exposed to nanoparticles) and administrative employees (who represent the “control” group, since they are not expected to be directly exposed). Biological samples –urine, one liter of exhaled air, and 2-3 mls of condensed exhaled air– were collected and a spirometry test performed on the volunteers. Environmental data were also gathered, by means of devices analyzing the composition of ambient air. The data collection will be repeated in 6 or 9 months, in a “follow-up” campaign.

The ICN2, being a leading research centre in the field of nanotechnology, is keen on collaborating with the NanoExplore project and on participating in studies oriented at assessing potential risks due to working with nanomaterials. The results of the individual tests will be provided privately to each volunteer, while the global outcome will be shared with the ICN2 Health and Safety Area and recommendations implemented.