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BASF joins a BMBF nanomaterial safety research program

05-Oct-2010 - Germany

BASF is a participant in a research project called NanoGEM (Nanostructured materials – Health, Exposure and Material Properties). The Federal Ministry of education and Research (BMBF) initiated project is taking place with the involvement of 19 research institutions and companies. The project will receive approximately €4.9 million in BMBF funding over the next three years, with industry to contribute around another €1.5 million. The project is headed by the Duisburg-based Institute for Energy and Environmental Technology (IUTA).

NanoGEM will investigate absorption and distribution of nanoparticles in the human body as a function of their size, structure and surface properties. The project is the first of its kind to evaluate industrially relevant nanoparticles and nanomaterials in processed products.

NanoGEM is intended in this manner to make an important contribution to the systematic assessment of risk in association with nanomaterial use. NanoGEM is just one example of BASF's commitment to safety research. Last year alone, BASF took part in approximately 20 projects, cooperations and partnerships.

Dr. Robert Landsiedel, head of nanotoxicology research at BASF, commented: "The results show that every nanomaterial works differently. Just because a substance contains small particles doesn't automatically make it toxic. While some nanomaterials produced inflammatory responses even at low doses, others have no harmful effects."

The project also used a method to investigate toxicity to the lungs. The method is now being refined by BASF research scientists. A new BMBF-funded project to be launched to that end. The aim is to establish whether the method is suitable for standard practice. Detailed knowledge of the behavior and effects of nanomaterials is enormously important in the risk assessment process for new products.

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