Safety, Health and Environmental policy (SHE)

Nanotechnology is a broad multidisciplinary grouping of physical, chemical, biological, engineering, and electronic, processes, materials, applications and concepts in which the defining characteristic is one of size. In many documents over the past years (Maynard et al, 2006; Ecetoc, 2006; Royal Society, 2004; EU, 2008) it has been recognized that nanomaterials, and more specifically nanoparticles (NP) can pose society for unexpected risks, and that a better understanding of risks for human and environment is needed.

At MagnaMedics nanoparticles are either the end products or components of physical and chemical processes that have been developed by us and used to compose (magnetic) products for use in Life Sciences. In this statement we would like to share with you (1) our company policy in handling nanomaterials during production, (2) our vision why we invest in R & D to enable Life Science applications with nanoparticles, and (3) why sustainability is a key feature in our company values in using nanoparticles for creating added value.

Company policy- best practices in working with NP

Our company policy is not to handle nanoparticles as dry powders. Both in-house products and nanoparticles bought from outside have to be handled in liquid suspension. Nanoparticles are produced in a separate space by a limited number of people and ventilation measures are applied also for liquid handling. We avoid spraying or generation of aerosols that may contain nanoparticles to reduce the chance of exposure.

MagnaMedics best practices are partly based on the results of its recent participation in a Dutch national survey that made an inventory of best practices (SoZaWe, 2008), added with insights from VCI, BSI and NIOSH guidelines. We would like to see authorities to publish guidelines for best practices and will actively support with information if needed. In our service we share our know-how and technology in a B2B model with other companies interested to build a customized best practice model. We also discuss with our customers potential implications of nanoparticle use.

Our vision to NP in Life Sciences

Our core products contain magnetic nanoparticles made of iron oxide in suspension. Similar particles have been used in medicine for a decade now as contrast agents (SPIONS) and some of these are approved by FDA. So far magnetic particles are being used in vitro for clinical diagnostics and as such help to detection of biomarkers that may help early detection of disease and pose little risk to the environment. Our newer developments anticipate to use iron oxide nanoparticles for imaging of medical devices in MRI and for drug delivery. In these applications we believe and document that the potential hazard of introducing such nanoparticles in the body is outweighed by the benefits of better diagnosis or treatment, or have major advantage over current treatment procedures. We keep a careful registry of toxicity studies of iron oxide nanoparticles and have an annual review to reconsider our position.

NP risks and sustainability

We believe that Nanotechnology can only sustain its enabling power for industrial and economic gain if sustainable applications are being developed. There are no safe materials, but only safe ways of handling and safe applications. This is true for all materials, and nanoparticles are no exception this paradigm. It is best to define a sustainable application by illustrating our thinking in our MagnaFy technology:

Current imaging for intravascular stent placement is done under CT or X-ray which exposes patient and personnel to radiation. X-ray also uses active imaging by a contrast agents which is injected and causes renal complications in many patients. Our method of passive imaging with nanoparticles fixed to the instrument has minimal release of NP and allows to avoid radiation exposure. Our magnetic nanoparticles are not released from the device and do not pose an environmental impact after disposal.