Explore our research

  • Toxicity of Nanoparticles


The European Union’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks conducted studies on the risks and hazards associated with nanotechnologies and found significant gaps in understanding of the hazards associated with such products. The reports highlighted the fact that an understanding of the physiological response to nanoparticles and the dose-response relationships for such responses is lacking. Our focus in this area has been the quantification of particle size distribution of nanoparticles, and the use of biochemical (enzyme assays) and biological (cell culture) models for quantification of nanoparticulate toxicity.

Expertise and Subject Areas

Fire Toxicity Assessment – Death in fire may be caused either by gases which are directly toxic or which cause such irritation that they impair vision and breathing, preventing escape, or by smoke which not only impairs escape ability by visual obscuration, but also contains particulate matter which is sufficiently small to pose a respiratory hazard. Combustion toxicity is highly dependent on fire conditions. It depends on material, ventilation condition, oxygen depletion and fuel geometry.


Recent Conference presentations:

  • Dr Anna Stec: Lecture on the Influence of fire retardants on fire toxicity 243rd ACS Symposium, Fire and Polymers California USA
  • Dr Stec is a UK Management Committee member and UK representative to COST Action Flaretex.
  • Dr Stec 2012-2016 EU Cost Scientific co-ordinator Toxicology and Environmental aspects.

Publications and Outputs





This is a selection of recent publications. Further information about group members publications can be accessed via the staff profiles in the members section, which link to the institutional repository.




  • A Stec, J Readman, P Blomqvist, D Gylenstam, D Karlsson, D Wojtalewicz, BZ Dlugogorski “Analysis of toxic effluents released from PVC carpets under different fire scenarios.” Chemosphere 2013.
  • JA Purser, DA Purser, A Stec, C Moffatt, TR Hull, JZ Su, M Byloos, P Blomqvist “Repeatability and Reproducibility Round Robin for the ISO TS19700 steady state tube furnace.” Fire Safety Journal 2013.
  • A Witkowski, A Stec, TR Hull “The influence of metal hydroxide fire retardants and nanoclay on the thermal decomposition of EVA.” Polymer Degradation and Stability vol 97 Nov 2012.


  • AMA Elhissi, J Giebultowicz, A Stec, W Ahmed, D Phoenix, KMG Taylor “Nebulization of Transferosomes: The influence of Aerosolization Mechanism and Formulation Excipients” International Journal of Pharmaceutics 2012.
  • P Patel, A Stec, TR Hull, M Naffakh, AM Diez-Pascual, G Ellis, N Safrona, RE Lyon “Flammability Properties of PEEK an Carbon Nanotube Composites” Polymer Degradation and Stability 2012.





  • Sacristán M., Hull T. R., Stec A. A., Ronda J. C., , Galià M, Cádiz M. V., “Cone Calorimetry Studies of Fire Retardant Soybean-Oil-Based Copolymers Containing Silicon or Boron: comparison of additive and reactive approaches”, Polymer Degradation and Stability. 95 (2010) 1269.

  • Stec A. A. and Jennifer Rhodes J., “Smoke and Hydrocarbon Yields from Fire Retarded Polymer Nanocomposites”, Polymer Degradation and Stability, (in press) March (2010) doi:10.1016/j.polymdegradstab.2010.03.032.

  • Rhodes J, Smith C. and Stec A. A., Characterisation of soot particulates from fire retarded and nanocomposite materials, and their toxicological impact. Polymer Degradation and Stability, (in press) March (2010) doi:10.1016/j. polymdegradstab.2010.07.002.


  • Wang D. Y., Wang J. S., Ge X. G., Wang Y. Z., Stec A. A. and Hull T. R., “Preparation and characterisation of a novel flame retarded PET/? zirconium phosphate nanocomposite (?-ZrP)”, Polymer Degradation and Stability 94 (2009) 544.



Staff from across the University form the Institute, bringing together a wealth of experience. Staff with a particular interest in toxicity of nanoparticles are:



Related Projects

Characterisation of Size Distribution