Current and recent SnIRC Projects include:


A scoping study into the manufacture and use of nanomaterials in the UK

Qasim Chaudhry, CSL

Collaborators A Boxall, M Hall, RJ Aitken

A scoping study to identify gaps in environmental regulation for the products and applications of nanotechnologies

Qasim Chaudhry, CSL
2005 - 2006

Collaborators: J Blackburn, CSL, P Floyd, C George, T Nwaogu,  A Boxall, and RJ Aitken

A scoping study to identify hazard data needs for addressing the risks presented by nanoparticles and nanotubes

Lang Tran IOM

Partners: K Donaldson, V Stone, T Fernandez, A Ford, N Christofi, JG Ayres, M Steiner, JF Hurley, RJ Aitken and A Seaton.

PARTICLE_RISK - Risk Assessment of Exposure to Particles

Lang Tran IOM
EU FP6 NEST Program
2005 - 2008

Some New and Emerging Science and Technology (NEST) may lead to new particulate materials emerging as pollutants from source as diverse as novel combustion systems, nanotechnology, or pharmaceutical drug delivery in the life sciences, and create potential for human exposure. Yet, exposure to dusts leads to pulmonary diseases. Particle toxicity increases with decreasing particle size. This study will produce a bank of NESTP and investigate health effects from exposure to NESTP via ingestion and inhalation using models and quantify potential human risk. Case study results and a general case methodology will be produced.

Partners include Venice, Edinburgh and Napier Universities, the Fraunhoffer Institute and NIOH (Denmark).

Nanoparticles: An occupational hygiene review

Rob Aitken IOM

A review of levels of exposure, measurement methods, effectiveness of control, knowledge gaps and numbers of people exposed to deliberately engineered nanoparticles in the UK. The review was published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Collaborators: CL TRan, K Creely IOM

Download a copy of this report at

Human exposures to carbon and metal nanoparticles

Jon Ayres
University of Aberdeen
Human Studies

Using a “head dome” system we are undertaking studies of carbon and metals exposures of nanoparticles (70-8-nm) in subjects with heart disease.  A similar project is planned for individuals with COPD considering changes in inflammatory markers, clotting and heart rate variability.

Collaborators include Roy Harrison & John Townend, University of Birmingham.

Neural effects of welding fume

John Ross, Jon Ayres, University of Aberdeen

We are exploring the effects of exposure to nanoparticles in welding fume on CNS function and brain MRI in welders working at depth and on land. A further grant application has been submitted to the HSE to extend this work and a larger longitudinal study is planned.

Collaborators include Ken Donaldson, University of Edinburgh; Frank Kelly, KCL

Cardiac rhythm and personal exposure to air pollution in patients with heart failure (DOH)
Anthony Seaton, University of Aberdeen, IOM

It has been shown that exposure to particulate air pollution is associated with acute episodes of heart disease and may have a long term effect on its development. In this project we are testing our hypothesis that these effects are a consequence of exposure to nanoparticles in the air by measuring exposure to these particles and assessing the electrophysiological and haematological responses in 100 patients with heart failure over the course of a year.

The study was completed successfully. It proved possible to obtain estimates of personal exposure to particle numbers and PM2.5 and to relate these to a large number of haematological and electrocardiographic endpoints. Few significant associations were found, in striking contrast to an earlier study carried out in Edinburgh and Belfast where falls in redblood cells and platelets had shown strong relationships with PM10. The earlier results were reanalysed and found to be correct. The levels of air pollution did not differ significantly between the three cities and the age ranges of the subjects were identical.
We concluded that the likely reason for the different responses in the two studies was the nature of the subjects taking part; in the earlier study they had been relatively healthy elderly people while in Aberdeen they had been selected as a “vulnerable“ group with serious heart failure. All were on cardiac drug therapy for this illness and we believe this treatment was responsible for protecting the patients from the effects of air pollution.

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