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17/08/2020 13:27

The brains of Nynas – Anna Steneholm

A specialist in toxicology, Anna supports sales and customers throughout Nynas and also chairs the group of petroleum toxicologists in the EU trade organisation Concawe. Find out what's on her mind.


Ensuring safe chemicals

As chair of the petroleum toxicologist group in Concawe, I work daily with enhancing knowledge of all petroleum substances sold in the EU. Only one study is required to prove hazard. To prove non-hazard is much more difficult and a wealth of data is often required. The challenge is to continue to support existing chemistry and ensure that new chemicals and innovative technologies are safe for the future.

Sameness & similarity

Petroleum substances contain many hundreds or thousands of different types of molecules and it is difficult to chemically analyse all of them. Yet chemicals legislation requires industry to prove that our substances are chemically the same or at least similar enough not to have to repeat animal studies on every batch. In my role as toxicologist at Nynas, I need to understand different chemical analytical techniques and their limitations when responding to the needs of the regulators.

Happy family

I have a fiancé abroad, a 12-year old autistic, computer programming son and an 8-year old physically active daughter. Together with a house up north that needs renovation and myself, who loves outdoor sports, planning the logistics is critical to make each day a good one for my loved ones.


Last year, I completed my PhD in respiratory toxicology, in which I investigated how occupational exposure could impact lung function among pig farmers. This expertise in how lungs are impacted by exposure to foreign substances is also important in understanding occupational exposure to some of Nynas’ products.

Mineral oil in consumer products

Nynas mineral oils are used in many consumer applications – from adhesives in nappies to silicon sealants to finish our bathrooms. We are always promoting the use of high-quality oils to make sure the final products reaching the consumer are safe. If a new draft legal requirement of an application or a customer demand regarding trace levels of contaminants is scientifically justifiable, I might need to reassess or possibly question the validity if the science is lacking.


Anna Steneholm
Educated at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm Anna worked for a few years with Castrol/BP and life science before joining Nynas in 2006. Sponsored by the company, she completed her PhD in 2018. A specialist in toxicology, Anna supports sales and customers throughout Nynas and also chairs the group of petroleum toxicologists in the EU trade organisation Concawe.


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