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Thursday, 18 July 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Technologies, Nanotechnology

Researchers examine considerations of nanotechnology

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The project focusses on nano applications in the built environment such as self-cleaning glass, super-strength bolts, and flexible solar panels. 

Scientists from Loughborough University examine health and safety considerations of nanotechnology

Source: fafoutis - Fotolia.com

Scientists from Loughborough University examine health and safety considerations of nanotechnology

Source: fafoutis - Fotolia.com

A Loughborough University research team has won research funding from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) to examine the health and safety considerations of nanotechnology.

Determining potential methods for demolition

The Loughborough research will identify built environment products that are nano-enabled and establish the types of particles that are used. It will particularly focus on the demolition and recycling of products as these are the most aggressive stages in a product’s life in the built environment. The team will work with demolition experts from the Institute of Demolition Engineers and the National Federation of Demolition Contractors, to determine potential methods for demolition and recycling of such products. The researchers will then replicate these activities in the laboratory to establish the bioavailability of the nanoparticles such that they could become hazardous to humans.

Evidence raises issues of health risks

Professor Alistair Gibb, leader of the project, comments: "Governments across the world are advising a prudent approach. However, it is hard to be prudent when you don’t know where the nanoparticles are, which types they are or the likelihood of them becoming bioavailable. Our research will examine these issues. It is as important to establish that a product does not contain harmful particles or that they do not become bioavailable through processes such as demolition as it is to find out that they do.  The team want to help society to take advantage of these ‘wonder materials’, but in a safe and healthy manner.”

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