Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA)

Critical Review Discussion -- Nanoparticles and the Environment

This paper is a discussion of the 2005 A&WMA Critical Review on nanoparticles and the environment. In the review, Drs. Pratim Biswas and Chang-Yu Wu described how nanoparticles and ultrafine particles (nominally those with diameters <100 nm) are created, interact among themselves, interact with gas molecules and larger particles, and where they end up in the environment. The authors observed that nanoparticles are created inadvertently as a portion of combustion emissions, but they are also created intentionally for commercial uses. Manufactured nanoparticles are playing an increasing role in water, soil, and air treatments; efficient energy production and storage; and medicine. The authors called for greater efforts to understand the potential environmental consequences of nanoparticles. Having observed the unintended consequences of many new technologies, they believe that a thorough understanding of the potential hazards and benefits of nanoparticles in the environment can mitigate against future problems that might arise from their manufacture and use.

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