The Swedish Toxicology Sciences Research Center – SWETOX
Chemicals are ubiquitous in our society, with major sources in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food and consumer products, and new chemical entities are being constantly developed. There is a great need for an effective way of assessing whether these chemicals, despite purported benefits, may harm humans, animals and the environment.
The Swedish Government and Parliament have adopted various environmental quality objectives and one of them is a Non-toxic Environment. The objective is that by 2020 the prerequisites for protecting human health and the environment from harmful chemicals will be in place.
Innovative interdisciplinary research, teaching and societal support
The Swedish Toxicology Sciences Research Center, or Swetox, has been created in order to further improve Sweden’s ability to meet society’s need for safe chemicals and a non-toxic environment. Swetox is a unique collaboration between eleven Swedish universities, with a hub in the Biovation Park in Södertälje.
A network of over 100 research groups focusing on chemicals, health and the environment has been created and necessary skills and equipment to facilitate integrated research with computer models, cell-based systems, animal testing (including inhalation exposure) and risk assessment tools are currently being assimilated at Swetox.
From its inception, Swetox has been founded fully on integrating research and development in the toxicology sciences with the principles of the 3Rs (Reduction, Refinement and Replacement). Using the network, Swetox also aims to coordinate and develop existing and new educational programs in the toxicology sciences.
Swetox also supports society in a number of other manners by conducting commissioned research and supporting governmental and other decision making bodies with expert advice. This national network is also being extended via strong international relationships and collaborations, increasing the impact of Swedish research, education and risk assessment abroad.
An important focus in the research is to develop new knowledge and methods and to assess the safety of all types of chemicals, irrespective of their source or chemical class. The three currently prioritized areas include endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals and nanomaterials.