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The Swedish Centre of Disaster Toxicology

The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare has established a Centre for Disaster Toxicology that serves as an expert group for the board. Besides our centre, the board has also established centers within radiation, disaster medicine and disaster psychiatry.

The Swedish Centre of Disaster Toxicology is led by the Swedish Defense research Agency (FOI ). The research team of our current projects consist of researchers from:

We conduct scientific research and analyze the knowledge development with the aim to further strengthen the preparedness of the Swedish health care for chemical releases.

KcC organisation

Anders Bucht
Head of Center of Disaster Toxicology
Research Director at FOI
Professor at Department of Public Health and
Clinical Medicine, Umeå University
+46 90-10 66 34
+46 70-344 66 34
anders.bucht@foi.se

Lina Thors
PhD in Pharmacology
Scientist at FOI
Project leader
+46 90-10 67 79
lina.thors@foi.se

Petra Olofsson
Web editor at FOI
petra.olofsson@foi.se

Ulrika Bergström
Deputy Head of Center of Disaster Toxicology
PhD in Toxicology, Toxicologist
Scientist at FOI
+46 8-555 038 32

ulrika.bergstrom@foi.se

Sofia Jonasson
PhD in Clinical Physiology
Scientist at FOI
Project leader
+46 90-10 67 45
sofia.jonasson@foi.se

Research

The scientific research within Swedish Centre of Disaster Toxicology aims to further strengthen the preparedness of the Swedish health care system for chemical releases. Our current research is focused on characterising effects and developing medical and decontamination responses after exposure of Chemicals via inhalation and skin penetration, respectively.

Medical diagnosis and treatment

In case of a severe chemical event, there is a need to identify exposed individuals and to provide medical care for these individuals depending on the specific chemical, degree of exposure and symptoms. For this, both improved methods to measure exposure and procedures for medical treatment are important. Access to validated diagnostic biomarkers would facilitate in identifying exposed patients in need of medical care and to follow the response to medical treatment.

Medical treatments of chemically induced lung injury - use of biomarkers to identify more efficient medical treatments.

The aim of this project is to identify the most efficient medical treatments for lung injury caused by toxic industrial gases both in preventing acute and chronic symptoms.

The industrial chemicals chlorine, ammonia and sulfur dioxide are all toxic gases that are highly irritating and damaging to the lung. Exposure to these toxic gases can cause both acute and long-term (chronic) lung injury in central and peripheral airways. At high doses, these gases induce severe lung inflammation and fluid accumulation in the airways which, in the worst cases, can be life threatening. An improved knowledge of how the chemical-induced lung injury occurs increases the possibility of developing and refining new treatments. The ability to use biomarkers to determine the risk of developing symptoms or determination of the degree of injury would facilitate the medical care significantly. Biomarkers are also of great value to monitor the progress of medical treatments.

We have previously identified potential biomarkers for acute and long-term effects after exposure to chlorine. It is hoped that these biomarkers could after validation be used in clinical diagnosis, for instance in order to identify individuals exposed to chlorine that are at risk of chronic injuries. The project aims to validate various treatment protocols using existing or proposed pharmaceuticals for chemical-induced lung injury. This will ultimately lead to better medical treatments of both acute and chronic symptoms.

The project is a collaboration between FOI CBRN Defence and Security and the Unit of Respiratory Medicine at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University.

Project manager: Sofia Jonasson

Skin Penetration and Decontamination

Major dispersions of toxic chemicals as solids or liquids are unusual but can have severe consequences. Upon dermal exposure some chemicals can enter the body through skin penetration thereby causing systemic toxic effects. Other chemicals may damage the skin and facilitate chemical uptake through the skin barrier. To avoid the risk of systemic effects or chemical skin burns it is of great importance to prevent further exposure of chemicals that can damage or penetrate the skin. For such chemicals rapid initiation of skin decontamination may be highly important to minimize the systemic toxic effects and save lives.

The aim of the project is to meet an identified need for scientific validation of existing decontamination methods and products in the emergency care. An experimental comparison of decontamination methods for chemical substances that are relevant to disaster preparedness will be carried out through human skin penetration studies. Primarily, the project will focus on the relationship between the time of initiated decontamination and how various factors, such as rinsing with water, affects the skin penetration of the chemicals and the decontamination efficiency. These studies will be conducted with respect to realistic scenarios to ensure that the knowledge derived from the project is relevant from a rescue service and medical perspective. An important objective is to propose general and useful methods of skin decontamination which are effective for the most prioritized chemicals.

The project is a collaboration between FOI CBRN Defence and Security and the FoUUi-department at the Stockholm South General Hospital.

Project manager: Lina Thors

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FOI – Research for a safer and more secure world.

FOI’s core activities are research, methodology/technology development, analyses and studies.

FOI is an assignment-based authority under the Ministry of Defence.

FOI’s core activities are research, methodology/technology development, analyses and studies. FOI is an assignment-based authority under the Ministry of Defence.