Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency

Tampere, Finland

Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency

Tampere, Finland
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News Article | April 28, 2017

Interim report, 1 January - 31 March 2017: A new soapstone collection was launched and profitability improved - The Tulikivi Group’s first-quarter net sales were EUR 5.9 million (EUR 6.3 million in Q1/2016), the operating result in the first quarter was EUR -0.9 (-1.3) million and result before taxes EUR -1.1 (-1.5) million. - Net cash flow from operating activities in the first quarter was EUR 0.2 (-0.5) million. - Order books at the end of the review period amounted to EUR 4.2 (4.6) million. - The new soapstone fireplace collection was very well received on the market - Future outlook: Net sales in 2017 are expected to be at the previous year’s level, and the operating profit is expected to improve year-on-year. Export sales of Tulikivi products increased in the first quarter. The new Karelia collection, launched in Belgium in February, has clearly increased dealers’ and consumers interest in Tulikivi products. As a result of the sales efficiency drive in Central Europe and the new collection, the sales outlook is better for the remainder of the year than it was a year before. Launches will be expanded to all main markets in the second quarter of the year. More extensive marketing to consumers of the new Karelia collection will start in the second half of the year. The goal of the sales performance drive has been to strengthen Tulikivi’s position in the sales catalogues of current dealers and to identify new dealers where necessary. The order intake in and net sales in Russia grew on the previous year due to Russia’s improved economy. In Finland, sales of fireplaces for new homes increased but demand in the renovation market was down from the previous year and as a result, sales in Finland declined in the first quarter. However, market conditions in fireplace sales continue to be challenging in Finland compared with the peak years due to the continuing low level of low-rise housing construction and low heating energy prices. In the first quarter, the company’s order intake was EUR 6.9 (6.8) million. Order intake increased in fireplace exports, interior design stones and saunas. Order intake in heater lining stones and also in renovation sales of fireplaces in Finland decreased. Order books at the end of the reporting period amounted to EUR 4.2 million (4.6). As a result of the efficiency drive, the company’s profitability improved on the previous year. Due to decreased fixed costs and lower depreciation, the company’s operating result for the review period improved by EUR 0.4 million compared to the previous year. Even though the operating environment for exports is likely to remain challenging in 2017, the downward trend in net sales is expected to end thanks to the new soapstone fireplace collection and the sales efficiency measures. Profitability is expected to improve in 2017 thanks to gains in cost-efficiency. The soapstone reserves available to the company increased by 1.6 million cubic metres when the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency granted an extension permit to the Vaaralampi mining concession in Juuka on 27 March 2017. The additional reserves correspond to more than 10 years of stone use. A preliminary proposal has been made to exploit the talc reserves in the mining concession in conjunction with the Suomussalmi lining stone plant. The project is different from conventional mining projects in that the reserves are located in conjunction with an existing concession and industrial infrastructure. The project could therefore be much quicker to complete than the usual projects and would involve fewer uncertainties. More investigation and further studies will be carried out in the next few months.

Talman V.,University of Helsinki | Talman V.,Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency | Amadio M.,University of Pavia | Osera C.,University of Pavia | And 9 more authors.
Pharmacological Research | Year: 2013

Protein kinase C (PKC) is a family of serine/threonine phosphotransferases ubiquitously expressed and involved in multiple cellular functions, such as proliferation, apoptosis and differentiation. The C1 domain of PKC represents an attractive drug target, especially for developing PKC activators. Dialkyl 5-(hydroxymethyl)isophthalates are a novel group of synthetic C1 domain ligands that exhibit antiproliferative effect in HeLa cervical carcinoma cells. Here we selected two isophthalates, HMI-1a3 and HMI-1b11, and characterized their effects in the human neuroblastoma cell line SH-SY5Y. Both of the active isophthalates exhibited significant antiproliferative and differentiation- inducing effects. Since HMI-1b11 did not impair cell survival even at the highest concentration tested (20 μM), and supported neurite growth and differentiation of SH-SY5Y cells, we focused on studying its downstream signaling cascades and effects on gene expression. Consistently, genome-wide gene expression microarray and gene set enrichment analysis indicated that HMI-1b11 (10 μM) induced changes in genes mainly related to cell differentiation. In particular, further studies revealed that HMI-1b11 exposure induced up-regulation of GAP-43, a marker for neurite sprouting and neuronal differentiation. These effects were induced by a 7-min HMI-1b11 treatment and specifically depended on PKCα activation, since pretreatment with the selective inhibitor Gö6976 abolished the up-regulation of GAP-43 protein observed at 12 h. In parallel, we found that a 7-min exposure to HMI-1b11 induced PKCα accumulation to the cytoskeleton, an effect that was again prevented by pretreatment with Gö6976. Despite similar binding affinities to PKC, the isophthalates had different effects on PKC-dependent ERK1/2 signaling: HMI-1a3-induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation was transient, while HMI-1b11 induced a rapid but prolonged ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Overall our data are in accordance with previous studies showing that activation of the PKCα and ERK1/2 pathways participate in regulating neuronal differentiation. Furthermore, since PKC has been classified as one of the cognitive kinases, and activation of PKC is considered a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of cognitive disorders, our findings suggest that HMI-1b11 represents a promising lead compound in research aimed to prevent or counteract memory impairment. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

News Article | December 3, 2015

In 2013, the European Commission restricted the use of neonicotinoid products, banning them in the seed treatment of crops favoured by bees, such as oilseed and turnip rape. Neonicotinoids are neurotoxins used as active ingredients in pesticides. The decision was based on the European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) risk assessment, according to which neonicotinoid use on crops attractive to bees is harmful to bees and other pollinators. Finland objected to the Commission's decision. Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira launched the Neomehi project to examine the impact of neonicotinoid insecticides on bees in the cultivation of spring oilseed crops. The suspected risks of their detrimental effects were observed in more southerly farming conditions. The research conducted in Finland yielded different results from the studies on which the Commission based its decision. "Neonicotinoid seed treatment seems to have no immediate impact on bee survival in Finland," says Luke researcher Jarmo Ketola, who headed the soon-to-be-completed project. The Neomehi project studied the impact of seed treatments of turnip rape on bees under field conditions during the growing and winter seasons. Neonicotinoid spraying was performed on part of the trial fields in both summers when the plants were in flower. Crop growth and the numbers of flying pollinators were monitored, and the success of test bee hives was assessed. Additionally, residues in plants, bees, pollen and nectar were analysed. The results show that residues of neonicotinoids migrate to bee hives in pollen and nectar. "The residue levels in the samples collected from the hives were so low that acute harm to bees is unlikely. However, risks associated with reproduction and orientation behaviour cannot be ruled out," says Evira senior researcher Kati Hakala. Entrepreneur Lauri Ruottinen, who provided bee care research services for the project, agrees. "Neonicotinoid treatments did not cause acute harm to bee hives during the study. The trial design does not, however, eliminate other factors that may cause changes in the number of adult bees," he notes. There are currently no alternatives to neonicotinoids. Small beetles, such as flea beetles, interfere with the growth of oilseed and turnip rape seedlings in the spring, and can lower the quality and quantity of the crop. In Finland, it is feared that the pesticide ban will affect the crop certainty of oilseed plants and reduce farmers' willingness to grow them. "This would jeopardise the use of oilseed and turnip rape as domestic raw material in vegetable oil, food and fuel, and as a source of protein in farm animal feed. Flowering oilseed and turnip rape are also important food sources for bees, and if their cultivation is reduced, so will the benefits of crop rotation," explains researcher Jarmo Ketola. The area under oilseed crops has decreased in recent years, but not dramatically, since the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) has granted special authorisation for the use of seed treatment products both last year and this year. Special authorisation has also been granted for 2016. EFSA is currently analysing new research data on the use of neonicotinoid products. It is not yet known when the European Commission will review its 2013 decision to restrict the use of these products. Explore further: Sussex bee scientists question value of neonics ban

PubMed | d Matis Ltd, Food Republic, Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency, German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Food additives & contaminants. Part A, Chemistry, analysis, control, exposure & risk assessment | Year: 2016

A total diet study (TDS) is a public health tool for determination of population dietary exposure to chemicals across the entire diet. TDSs have been performed in several countries but the comparability of data produced is limited. Harmonisation of the TDS methodology is therefore desirable and the development of comparable TDS food lists is considered essential to achieve the consistency between countries. The aim of this study is to develop and test the feasibility of a method for establishing harmonised TDS food and sample lists in five European countries with different consumption patterns (Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Iceland and Portugal). The food lists were intended to be applicable for exposure assessment of wide range of chemical substances in adults (18-64years) and the elderly (65-74years). Food consumption data from recent dietary surveys measured on individuals served as the basis for this work. Since the national data from these five countries were not comparable, all foods were linked to the EFSA FoodEx2 classification and description system. The selection of foods for TDS was based on the weight of food consumed and was carried out separately for each FoodEx2 level 1 food group. Individual food approach was respected as much as possible when the TDS samples were defined. TDS food lists developed with this approach represented 94.7-98.7% of the national total diet weights. The overall number of TDS samples varied from 128 in Finland to 246 in Germany. The suggested method was successfully implemented in all five countries. Mapping of data to the EFSA FoodEx2 coding system was recognised as a crucial step in harmonisation of the developed TDS food lists.

PubMed | University of Eastern Finland, Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, University of Helsinki and Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency
Type: Comparative Study | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

Vegetarian and vegan diets have become more popular among adolescents and young adults. However, few studies have investigated the nutritional status of vegans, who may be at risk of nutritional deficiencies.To compare dietary intake and nutritional status of Finnish long-term vegans and non-vegetarians.Dietary intake and supplement use were estimated using three-day dietary records. Nutritional status was assessed by measuring biomarkers in plasma, serum, and urine samples. Vegans (n = 22) data was compared with those of sex- and age-matched non-vegetarians (n = 19).All vegans adhered strictly to their diet; however, individual variability was marked in food consumption and supplementation habits. Dietary intakes of key nutrients, vitamins B12 and D, were lower (P < 0.001) in vegans than in non-vegetarians. Nutritional biomarker measurements showed lower concentrations of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3), iodine and selenium (corrected for multiple comparisons, P < 0.001), Vegans showed more favorable fatty acid profiles (P < 0.001) as well as much higher concentrations of polyphenols such as genistein and daidzein (P < 0.001). Eicosapentaenoic acid proportions in vegans were higher than expected. The median concentration of iodine in urine was below the recommended levels in both groups.Long-term consumption of a vegan diet was associated with some favorable laboratory measures but also with lowered concentrations of key nutrients compared to reference values. This study highlights the need for nutritional guidance to vegans.

PubMed | Henkel AG, Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, EU Commission, German Federal Environmental Agency and 4 more.
Type: | Journal: Integrated environmental assessment and management | Year: 2017

Specific environmental release categories (SPERCs) are an instrument for lower tier assessments of environmental emissions in the REACH chemical safety assessment. SPERCS have been developed by industry and subject to regulatory review. Within the framework of the CSR/ES Roadmap the EU Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the EU Member State authorities and European industry sector associations collaborate to improve the quality of the SPERCs. Following up on the outcome of ECHAs SPERC Best Practice Project, industry together with ECHA developed an updated SPERC Factsheet template and a guidance how fill it. In addition, industry developed two sets of SPERC factsheet examples and the corresponding SPERC background documents. These documents were submitted to a multi-stakeholder review process. The comments from the review were discussed at a workshop in spring 2016. The workshop participants acknowledged the revised factsheet format including the corresponding guidance, the two SPERC factsheets and the two SPERC background documents as best practice examples. The package is expected to support the further improvement of the quality of the SPERCs. A common understanding was achieved of the need to match the level of detail of the description of the use conditions with the risk to be controlled (i.e. the emission intensity and the hazard profile of the substances) and with the level of conservatism of the SPERC release factors. The complete and transparent documentation of the derivation of the release factors and of their conservatism is conceived crucial for the credibility of the SPERCs such that they can be trusted by partners in the chemicals supply chain and by regulators. To that end, background documents will include a dedicated section describing the conservatism of the SPERC. The workshop concluded with an outline of the practical way forward for the improvement of the SPERC documentation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

PubMed | Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy, University of Helsinki, Finnish Food Safety Authority and Finnish Forest Research Institute
Type: | Journal: Toxicology in vitro : an international journal published in association with BIBRA | Year: 2016

The mycotoxin enniatin B, a cyclic hexadepsipeptide produced by the plant pathogen Fusarium, is prevalent in grains and grain-based products in different geographical areas. Although enniatins have not been associated with toxic outbreaks, they have caused toxicity in vitro in several cell lines. In this study, the cytotoxic effects of enniatin B were assessed in relation to cellular energy metabolism, cell proliferation, and the induction of apoptosis in Balb 3T3 and HepG2 cells. The mechanism of toxicity was examined by means of whole genome expression profiling of exposed rat primary hepatocytes. Enniatin B altered cellular energy metabolism and reduced cell proliferation in Balb 3T3 and HepG2 cell lines. Furthermore, the proportion of apoptotic cell populations of Balb 3T3 cells slightly increased. On the other hand, enniatin B caused necrotic cell death in primary hepatocytes. Gene expression studies revealed the alteration of energy metabolism due to effects on mitochondrial organization and function and the assembly of complex I of the electron transport chain.

PubMed | VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, University of Helsinki, Finnish Food Safety Authority and Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency
Type: | Journal: Food chemistry | Year: 2016

An investigation was conducted to determine the fate of deoxynivalenol, deoxynivalenol-3-glucoside, HT-2 toxin and T-2 toxin, during a four-day fermentation with the lager yeast Saccharomyces pastorianus. The influence of excessive mycotoxin concentrations on yeast growth, productivity and viability were also assessed. Mycotoxins were dosed at varying concentrations to 11.5 Plato wort. Analysis of yeast revealed that presence of the toxins even at concentrations up to 10,000 g/L had little or no effect on sugar utilisation, alcohol production, pH, yeast growth or cell viability. Of the dosed toxin amounts 9-34% were removed by the end of fermentation, due to physical binding and/or biotransformation by yeast. Deoxynivalenol-3-glucoside was not reverted to its toxic precursor during fermentation. Processing of full-scan liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight-mass spectrometry (LC-QTOF-MS) data with MetaboLynx and subsequent LC-QTOF-MS/MS measurements resulted in annotation of several putative metabolites. De(acetylation), glucosylation and sulfonation were the main metabolic pathways activated.

Nathanail A.V.,Finnish Food Safety Authority | Sarikaya E.,Thermo Fisher Scientific | Jestoi M.,Finnish Food Safety Authority | Godula M.,Thermo Fisher Scientific | Peltonen K.,Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency
Journal of Chromatography A | Year: 2014

In this study, we compared the performance of conventional sample preparation techniques used in mycotoxin analyses against automated on-line sample clean-up for the determination of deoxynivalenol (DON) and its conjugated derivative, deoxynivalenol-3-β-d-glucoside (D3G), in cereal grains. Blank wheat and barley samples were spiked with DON and D3G, extracted with a mixture of acetonitrile:water (84:16, v/v) and processed by one of the following: extract and shoot, MycoSep® 227 clean-up columns, MycoSep 227 with an additional acetonitrile elution step and centrifugal filtration, followed by analysis with liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Based on method performance characteristics and poor recoveries (<30%) obtained for the polar D3G with some techniques, the extract and shoot approach was chosen for the inter-laboratory method comparison study. Thus, the same spiked samples were analysed in parallel by another laboratory with an in-house validated on-line sample clean-up method, utilising TurboFlow™ chromatography coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry. Method validation was performed by determination of specificity, linearity, recovery, intra-day precision and the limits of detection and quantification. Matrix-matched linearity (R2>0.985) was established in the range of 100-1600 and 20-320μg/kg for DON and D3G, respectively. Average recoveries (%RSD) were acceptable with both methods for wheat and barley, ranging between 73% and 102% (3-12%) for DON and 72% and 98% (1-10%) for D3G. The benefit of using automated sample clean-up in comparison to extract and shoot is the ability to inject directly pure extracts into the mass spectrometer, offering faster analyses and improved sensitivity with minimum system maintenance. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.All rights reserved.

Rajamaki J.,Laurea University of Applied Sciences | Rajamaki M.,Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency
European Conference on Information Warfare and Security, ECCWS | Year: 2013

The National Security Auditing Criteria, KATAKRI, were published in 2009, revised in 2011, and version III is currently under revision. The root of KATAKRI is to preserve the confidentiality of any confidential and classified information held by the organisation concerned. One of KATAKRI's aims is to combine the actions of authorities when verifying the security level of a company or other corporation by carrying out security auditing. From the enterprise operators' point of view, the focus of security auditing is to eliminate unfair competition and maintain an equal opportunity field for operators. Another of KATAKRI's aims is to improve national security when Finnish Defence Forces or other security authorities apply subcontracting. KATAKRI is also intended to help companies and corporations when they are developing their own security level. The purpose of this case study is to find out: what is expected from the security auditing process and from the leading auditor; what kind of competence the auditor should have; and how the security auditing training and qualification should be developed to correspond with the needs of the security field. The empirical research was conducted in the form of interviews, questionnaires and observations made as a student during the first KATAKRI leading auditor course executed 2/2/2012-12/12/2012. The combined results showed that deep knowledge of the security field and competence to manage overall security is required from security auditors. Furthermore, it was concluded that qualifications for security auditors should be created in accordance with ISO Standard 19011:2011, which provides a very strong competence model. In light of the above, it is recommended that the academic level, content and requirements of future audit and security auditing training should be clearly defined, and the quality of the training should be standardised and certified. The results also indicate that KATAKRI version II still has defects due to its inconsistency. One task of auditing processes should be collecting information about KATAKRI's shortcomings, and they should be systematically analysed. Future leading auditor courses would be suitable scenes to analyse shortcomings and to propose improvements to KATAKRI. KATAKRI should be revised every second or third year.

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