Nytt spännade UF-företag på Rudbeck – DoNut Worry

SWEDISH SUMMARY: Idag har jag träffat medarbetarna i UF-företaget (Ung Företagsamhet) DoNut Worry från Rudbeck. Ni kunde följa mitt fadderskap/mentorskap med UF-företaget YMAR förra året, jag är övertygad om att DoNut Worry kommer att lyckas lika bra. Väldigt kul att se ungdomarnas engagemang att skapa och driva ett företag. En nyckel för allas vår framtida välfärd! Lycka till nu Theodor, Jennifer, Emmie, Oscar och Gustav (samt Hanna som tyvärr inte kunde vara med idag på uppstartsmötet).


Ledningsgruppen på DoNut Worry

Ledningsgruppen på DoNut Worry

Today I had my first meeting at Rudbeck High School with the young entrepreneurs who just now have started their company DoNut Worry. They will run the company throughout their final year in high school, including closing it down before graduation. If you followed me here at the blog last year you will recall my mentorship with the young entrepreneurs in YMAR. It was a fun and interesting journey – and I am sure it will be at least as interesting this time! To me it is an important part of corporate responsibility and community outreach to support initiatives like this. Entrepreneurship is crucial in order to secure are future wellfare!

So what will DoNut Worry bring to the market? Well, as the name of the company indicates, donuts is the thing!

DoNut Worry UF - produkten

I’ll meet them again on Oct 31 and then we will dsicuss their business and operating plan. Looking forward to it!

Marlene Ågerstrand – PhD dissertation

SWEDISH SUMMARY: Marlene Ågerstrand försvarade sin doktorsavhandling ”From Science to Policy – Improving environmental risk assessment and management of chemicals” på KTH i fredags. Marlene har bland annat studerat miljöklassificeringssystemet för läkemedelssubstanser som LIF i samarbete med flera intressenter lanserade på Fass.se 2005.

The PhD-Thesis by Marlene Ågerland

The PhD-Thesis by Marlene Ågerland

Marlene Ågerstrand had her PhD dissertation at KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) Friday Dec 7. The name of the PhD-Thesis is ”From Science to Policy – Improving environmental risk assessment and management of chemicals”. One important part of the work has been to evaluate and review the Swedish classification scheme for pharmaceutical substances on Fass.se which was launched back in 2005 by LIF (The Association of the Research-based Pharmaceutical Industry in Sweden) in collaboration with several stakeholders. In addition to Marlene’s evaluation and review of the classification scheme (or the Swedish Environmental Classification and Information System for pharmaceuticals – SECIS – as it is referred to by Marlene), she also presents the WikiPharma database for environmental effect data for pharmaceuticals, a comparison of current reliability evaluation methods and a reliability evaluation of ecotoxicity data, and finally an improved reliability and relevance reporting and evaluation scheme. The thesis is a summary of the following papers:

Paper I
Molander L, Ågerstrand M, Rudén C. 2009. WikiPharma – a freely available, easily accessible, interactive and comprehensive database for environmental effect data for pharmaceuticals.
Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 55: 367–371.

Paper II
Ågerstrand M, Wester M, Rudén C. 2009. The Swedish Environmental Classification and Information System for Pharmaceuticals — An empirical investigation of the motivations, intentions and expectations underlying its development and implementation.
Environment International 35 (5) 778-786.

Paper III
Ågerstrand M, Rudén C. 2010. Evaluation of the accuracy and consistency of the Swedish Environmental Classification and Information System for pharmaceuticals.
Science of the Total Environment 408: 2327–2339.

Paper IV
Ågerstrand M, Breitholtz M, Rudén C. 2011. Comparison of four different methods for reliability evaluation of ecotoxicity data – A case study of non-standard test data used in environmental risk assessments of pharmaceutical substances.
Environmental Sciences Europe 23: 17.

Paper V
Ågerstrand M, Küster A, Bachmann J, Breitholtz M, Ebert I, Rechenberg B, Rudén C. 2011. Reporting and evaluation criteria as means towards transparent use of ecotoxicity data for environmental risk assessment of pharmaceuticals.
Environmental Pollution 159 (10): 2487-2492.

It is kind of interesting to read a thesis where a system is being scientifically evaluated that you have been following all the way from the first ideas came up, through intense discussions with both Swedish and international stakeholders, through the design phase and then impementation and maintanance. And Marlene’s evaluation is valuable – she has identified several areas for improvement.

Faculty opponent at the dissertation was Professor Andreas Kortenkamp from Brunel University in the UK.

Andreas K and Marlene Å

Andreas K and Marlene Å

It was a good and interesting discussion between Andreas and Marlene. And there were a few take-aways for me from that discussion. Among those take-aways:

- First of all Andreas’ comment that this system could probably never have been implemented elsewhere. Sweden has a unique collaboration between all different stakeholders in society. I have to admit that it makes me kind of proud.

- Marlene’s very important observation that several, if not most, of publications with toxicity and ecotoxicity data lack information allowing risk assessors to evaluate data reliability. Very often data on test protocols, dosing systems, controls, the testing environment or similar basic data are actually missing. Marlene proposes a list of reliability evaluation criteria in her 5th paper, and such criteria is extremely important especially if non-standard test data from literature should be possible to incorporate in a risk assessment process.

- All the ideas around improvements of the SECIS system. For instance, regarding reliability of the different classifications. Marlene also pointed out that the value of the system has mainly been making data publicly available and increased transparency, and it has helped placing the discussions on pharmaceuticals in the environment on the agenda. However it has not really been an effective ”risk reduction tool”, since the system does not really allow for replacing one product with another one. Remember that it is just a classification scheme for pharmaceutical SUBSTANCES, not the PRODUCTS (where also other environmental aspects than the environmental risk and hazard of the active pharmaceutical ingridient is of importance).

The latter issue will be possible to act upon through the project National Pharmaceutical Strategy Issue 7.2:

“Encourage voluntary control of emissions from pharmaceutical manufacturing: Introduction of a voluntary environmental labeling/assessment of pharmaceutical products”.

The assessment model that is being under development in this initiative will allow for differentiation on a PRODUCT level. You will be able to follow the development of the model via this link and here at the blog (blog posts such as the one from Nov 22).

Congratulations Marlene (or Dr Ågerstrand which is now perhaps more appropriate) to a job well done!

Degradation of pharmaceuticals in waste water treatment plants

SWEDISH SUMMARY: Finns det läkemedelsrester i det slam som lämnar reningsverket? Kan det bildas skadliga nedbrytningsprodukter under reningen som i sin tur kan spridas i miljön med vatten eller slam? Region Skåne visar i ett pågående forskningsprojekt att det sker en omfattande nedbrytning av läkemedel i reningsverken, och att endast en liten del återfinns i slammet. Forskningen fortsätter nu med att identifiera vilka nedbrytningsprodukter som bildas och var de återfinns.

Are there any pharmaceuticals residues in the sludge from waste water treatment plants? Are degradation products (or transformation products) formed which are toxic to the environment, and where (in sludge or in the water effluent) are these degradation products found?

These are some questions in a research project conducted by Region Skåne (”The Skåne County Council” in the southern parts of Sweden). The firsts results are presented now, and it is evident that extensive degradation is taking place during the waste water treatment process. And since the concentration of any pharmaceutical residues in the sludge is low according to the results, the research will now focus on identifying transformation/degradation products, and investigate whether they are to be found in the sludge or in the water effluent.

You can also listen to the researcher Estelle Larsson (and read her comments on the website) via this link to Radio P4 Malmöhus.

I am looking forward to see the results from the new project phase. This work together with other initiatives in the field (e.g. MistraPharma) are important in order to understand potential risks, and to decide upon mitigation measures if necessary.

For more information on pharmaceuticals and waste water treatment see for instance the following blog posts: Sept 21 2012, Aug 17 2012, April 27 2012, March 14 2012, and Oct 29 2010,

Sustainability Criteria in Public Procurement of Pharmaceuticals

SWEDISH SUMMARY: Miljöstyrningsrådet (MSR) har nu publicerat uppdaterade miljökriterier och sociala kriterier att användas vid offentlig upphandling av läkemedel. Kriteriedokumentet finns att tillgå via denna länk.

I have written several blog posts regarding public procurement of pharmaceuticals (see for instance Sept 4 2012, April 24 2012, March 13 2012, Jan 31 2012, and Sept 8 2011 (with additional links in the blog post)). I have several times quoted the LIF (The Association of the Research Based Pharmaceutical Industry in Sweden) position regarding sustainability criteria in public procurement: We welcome them on the conditions that they are in accordance to LOU (”Lagen om Offentlig Upphandling”, i.e. the Swedish regulation on Public Procurement), that the responses from industry are used in the selection of supplier, and that they arre followed up. To be very honest, I feel that County Councils do not deliver upon the latter two issues. The good news is however that the County Councils have identified these gaps as well, and are really trying to develop. Pauline Göthberg’s and MSR’s (the Swedish Environmental Management Council) project to develop a supplier database is an important initiative here.

MSR has now published updated environmental and social criteria for pharmaceuticals on their website. You can also read their news release regarding the update via this link.

IVL – a central part of Swedish environmental research

SWEDISH SUMMARY: IVL spelar en helt central roll i svensk miljöforskning. Jag har idag deltagit i Stiftelsen IVL:s styrelsemöte (Stiftelsen är helägare till IVL AB, samt ansvarig för den så kallade samfinasierade miljöforskningen). Nästa vecka träffas Stiftelsen IVL:s styrelse, IVL AB:s styrelse samt ledningen på IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet för att diskutera strategier för svensk miljöforskning. Jag känner en enorm glädje över att få tillfälle att diskutera dessa frågor med representanter från såväl näringsliv som många olika myndigheter och offentliga aktörer.

Aktuell rapport från IVL: Utsläpp av läkemedelsrester via enskilda avlopp i Sverige, län för län

The Board of the Foundation IVL met today. The Foundation (called SIVL) is the owner of IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL AB), and is fully responsible for the so called co-founded environmental research in Sweden. The co-founded research totals roughly 80 MSEK per year, where principally half comes from the government (more specifically the environmental agencies Swedish EPA and Formas) and the other half from Swedish enterprises.

The Board of the Foundation will meet next week with the Board of IVL AB and with the management of IVL to discuss strategies for the environmental research in Sweden. I have to say that it is a privilege to be able to participate in such discussions with representatives from several Swedish enterprises, from environmental agencies and other governmental and public actors. It is a unique set up to allow for discussions across all sectors, actors and stakeholders. IVL is defintely a central part of Swedish environmental research.

One of IVL’s research areas is water, and one aspect of water environmental research that for obvious reasons interests me specifically is Pharmaceuticals in the Environment. IVL made a press release on Sept 18 about discharges of pharmaceuticals through individual sewages in Sweden. The study reports discharges county by county. Roughly 20% of all Swedish inhabitants in total have individual sewages (i.e. not connected to municipally owned waste water treatment plants). The percentages vary strongly from county to county, e.g. 4% in Stockholm and 42% in Gotland. A postive conclusion from the study is that the individual sewages actually work relatively well. Download the report here.