Researchers want to think twice!

​Nanomaterials are found in everything from clothing, sunscreens and electronics. But the risks are still unknown. Scientists know very little about the impact these materials have on the environment and people.
​However, several methods are now being developed to measure the risks.
- Our philosophy is to assess the risks as early as possible. If the use of nanomaterials increases and they would prove to have a negative impact on the environment, it's much more difficult to make changes, explains researcher Rickard Arvidsson.

Rickard conducts research on various methods concerning emissions, exposure and risk assessment. These methods have then been tested on three nanomaterials, titanium dioxide particles, silver particles and graphene.
- Nanomaterials can be very useful because of their special properties. For example, titanium dioxide particles in cement can break down air pollution and create cleaner air in cities.

But what about us consumers? Do we have the possibility to deselect products containing nanomaterial?
- From a consumer perspective, it is not easy to decide. Either there is no information in the table of contents or the material is marked as positive by the companies. The media image is also contradictory and emphasizes both threats and opportunities, he says.

Rickard participates in the project NanoSphere, which aims to develop risk assessment processes for nanomaterials. NanoSphere is an interdisciplinary project between the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers and involves social scientists, natural scientists and environmental systems analysts.

What has been the best thing about being a postgraduate student and what will you do now?
The best thing has been all the interesting discussions with colleagues at the Division of Environmental Systems Analysis. I will continue my research on nanomaterials here at Chalmers. At the moment I’m working on an expanded cooperation with the social scientists within the NanoSphere project.

Rickard defended his thesis ”Contributions to Emission, Exposure and Risk Assessment of Nanomaterial” on September 7, 2012.

Text: Karin Ljungklint
Translation: Sofia Norström

Page manager Published: Mon 08 Oct 2012.