John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Engineered nanomaterials in waters and soils: A risk quantification based on probabilistic exposure and effect modeling

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The production and use of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are increasing rapidly, and therefore, the need to assess their environmental exposure and associated risks has become increasingly important. Only a handful of studies have quantified the release and environmental concentrations of ENMs, but much work has been done to investigate the effects of these materials on organisms. The aim of this study was to quantify probabilistically the environmental risks of ENMs producing species sensitivity distributions that were then compared to probability distributions of predicted environmental concentrations. Five nanomaterials (nano‐Ag, nano‐TiO2, nano‐ZnO, carbon nanotubes [CNTs] and fullerenes) and four environmental compartments (surface water, sewage treatment plant effluents, soils, and sludge‐treated soils) were considered. From 60 ecotoxicological papers, we extracted 112 single values to work with (25 values in 13 papers for nano‐Ag, 17 values in 10 papers for CNTs, seven values in seven papers for fullerenes, 34 values in 23 papers for nano‐TiO2, and 29 values in 17 papers for nano‐ZnO). The results indicate there is only a marginal risk for these metal‐based nanomaterials in surface water (0.7% risk for nano‐Ag and <0.1% for nano‐TiO2) and some risk in sewage treatment plant effluents (nano‐Ag 39.7%, nano‐TiO2 18.7%, and nano‐ZnO 1.1%). Apart from a marginal value of <0.1% for nano‐TiO2 in sludge‐treated soils, no risks from the other evaluated ENMs in terrestrial compartments are currently predicted. The discussion of the results considers the influence of the effects of different forms of one ENM (e.g. coating, agglomeration state, mineralogy), the test conditions (e.g., dissolution, agglomeration), and transformation reactions. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. © 2013 SETAC

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