About NanoSafety

NanoSafety is a research effort at the Örebro University (Sweden) aiming to address health and safety challenges of (nano)particles found in the additive manufacturing (AM) or industrial 3D printing.

NanoSafety story began within the HÖG19 NanoSafety1 project funded by the KK-Stiftelsen (KKS), and continued through a number of grants including Afa-funded PiA project, Prospekt22 NANOSIGN project, and finally Synergi22 NanoSafety2 project (Dec 1, 2023 – Nov 30, 2027). NanoSafety2 is to be viewed as a progression from the HÖG19 project that provided the opportunity to bring the AM concerns and questions into focus, to develop methods, recruit manpower, and to gather Swedish forefront AM companies to form an interdisciplinary platform of knowledge and experience with the goal of performing health and safety assessment of (nano)particles found in the AM industry. NanoSafety2 is jointly coordinated by the Inflammatory Response and Infection Susceptibility Center (iRiSC) and Man-Technology-Environment research center (MTM) at the Örebro University.

AM is an exciting new technology, but like any innovation, it comes with potential risks for those working with it. Unfortunately, the AM industry lacks clear health and safety standards, particularly concerning the (nano)particles emitted during the manufacturing process or post-processing of printed parts.

Workers in the AM industry face exposure to various micro and nanoparticles, each with different physicochemical properties and potential hazards. The long-term effects of exposure to these particles are especially concerning, as they can easily interact with and penetrate the lung or skin barriers, leading to possible health issues.

Recognizing the importance of addressing these concerns, the Swedish AM community has developed a Strategic Research Agenda (SRA), highlighting occupational health as a top priority. The goal is to proactively manage health risks and ensure the safe and sustainable growth of the AM industry.

To achieve this, NanoSafety2 aims to define (nano)particle emission levels, measure human exposure, and understand the biological mechanisms behind the potential health effects. The core question guiding the NanoSafety2 project is: How can particles found in AM industry influence human health?

SP1: Exposure conducts AM (nano)particle measurement, collection, characterization, and exposure assessment.

SP2: Mechanisms of Action investigates particle toxicological effects by exploring biological mechanisms in vitro and in silico, in order to provide state-of-the-art hazard assessment and prediction of AM (nano)particles' biological effects.

SP3: Health assesses the long-term health risks in cohorts of AM (nano)particle-exposed workers.

SP4: Knowledge Transfer undertakes bilateral knowledge transfer between academia and the AM industry, and an ambitious dissemination of research findings.

This proactive approach is crucial because as AM technology evolves, introducing new solutions and materials, the potential effects on human health remain largely unknown. By addressing these concerns head-on, the aim is to ensure a safer and healthier working environment for everyone involved in the AM industry or simply having a desktop 3D printer at home. NanoSafety2 will be an important contribution to the development of the Örebro University’s strategic profile Pollutants and Society, and the NanoSafety concept is of vital importance for the theme Chemicals, Environment and Health at the Platform for a Sustainable Future at Örebro University PSF@ORU.

MTM MoH P0067 - NanoSafety_Project overview.jpg

Figure 1: The NanoSafety2 project overview. The core question is answered by integration of four sub-projects (Exposure, Mechanisms of action, Health, and Knowledge transfer). The data generated in sub-projects converge into the core question by assessing interrelated, yet specific, aspects of (nano)particle toxicity.