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Health and Environment

Work Package 4

In the Graphene Flagship’s Health and Environment Work Package, we assess the safety profile of graphene and layered materials and define protocols for their safer use.

We start by looking at the physicochemical properties and bio-nano interactions of graphene and layered materials when they are introduced to biosystems, considering all routes of exposure. We believe that three fundamental steps are necessary for the safety profiles of graphene and layered materials to be fully characterised:

  • Maximise the synergy and coordination between different research strategies.
  • Monitor toxicity at different levels: cellular, organ, tissue and environmental.
  • Define protocols for the materials’ safer use, where necessary

Safety first

Graphene and layered materials are rapidly approaching working applications in many areas: electronics, optoelectronics, photonics, energy, materials and composites, and biomedicine, just to cite a few. For these new materials to be viable for industrial and clinical applications, it is fundamental to fully understand their impact on health and the environment.

We still have gaps to fill in risk-related knowledge, and this is what drives us. It is therefore crucial to develop a thorough and reliable safety profile of graphene and layered materials and offer solutions if any risks are identified.

In the EU, all manufactured materials and nanomaterials must follow REACH regulations, established by the European Chemicals Agency, in order to be authorised for industrial production and commercialisation. In 2020, our Work Package will work with the European Chemicals Agency to develop and implement the official guidelines for the safety assessment of graphene and layered materials.

Work Package Leadership


Leader: Maurizio Prato, University of Trieste, Italy
Deputy: Alberto Bianco, CNRS, France

Division Leadership


Leader: Kostas Kostarelos, The University of Manchester, United Kingdom
Deputy: Maurizio Prato, University of Trieste, Italy

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