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Case studies of nanomaterial

Metal and metal oxide nanoparticles are currently the particles with the highest total production volume, with titanium-dioxide (TiO2) and silver (Ag) particles making up the bulk of nanoparticles. Also zinc-oxide (ZnO) particles are getting more and more popular for various applications in e.g. in sunscreens or paints.

Due to their wide-spread use in consumer products, these nanoparticles are continuously released into the aquatic environment, e.g. when sunscreens or cosmetics are rinsed off the skin, when nanoparticle-treated textiles are washed or when nanopaticles leach from aging paints. Aquatic organisms such as fish, aquatic invertebrates and microbes are therefore now continuously exposed to man-made nanoparticles.

One way to take different perspectives connected with the production and environmetal effects of emitted nanomateirals is to simply follow their path from the source to where they end up in the ecosystem. Such a fictive journey of a nanoparticle can also be used to describe NanoSphere, starting at the industrial site or in the research laboratory where the particles are produced and/or emitted, passing various consumer products before ending up as waste in the environment.

This whole process will have consequences for human health, and ecosystems in general. It also deserves to be reflected upon, from within the reasearch community, and also by the society. An important issue is to find out whether current chemical risk assessment methodologies as they are laid out in REACH can also be applied to manufactured nanoparticles in the environment.

In the following we will describe a few cases, examplifying how the different activities within NanoSphere tie together, using three different kinds of nanoparticles. TiO2 is the major model particle within NanoSphere for the syntehtic and characterisation efforts. Silver is also attracting a lot of interest due to the on-going debate on its use and ecotoxic effects. Furthermore, grahene-based materials are interesting to study as an example of an emerging nanomateiral.

Page Manager: Robert Karlsson|Last update: 11/17/2014
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