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Comprehensive probabilistic modelling of environmental emissions of engineered nanomaterials

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Sun Tianyin, Gottschalk Fadri, Hungerbühler Konrad, Nowack Bernd,
Project Mass flow analysis and environmental risk assessment of nanomaterials
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Environmental Pollution
Volume (Issue) 185
Page(s) 69 - 76
Title of proceedings Environmental Pollution
DOI 10.1016/j.envpol.2013.10.004


Concerns about the environmental risks of engineered nanomaterials (ENM) are growing, however, currently very little is known about their concentrations in the environment. Here, we calculate the concentrations of five ENM (nano-TiO2, nano-ZnO, nano-Ag, CNT and fullerenes) in environmental and technical compartments using probabilistic material-flow modelling. We apply the newest data on ENM production volumes, their allocation to and subsequent release from different product categories, and their flows into and within those compartments. Further, we compare newly predicted ENM concentrations to estimates from 2009 and to corresponding measured concentrations of their conventional materials, e.g. TiO2, Zn and Ag. We show that the production volume and the compounds' inertness are crucial factors determining final concentrations. ENM production estimates are generally higher than a few years ago. In most cases, the environmental concentrations of corresponding conventional materials are between one and seven orders of magnitude higher than those for ENM. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.