RCRA Regulation of Wastes from the Production, Use, and Disposal of Nanomaterials
The booming growth of nanotechnology in the U.S. economy has already begun to create an expanding universe of wastes from the manufacture, use, and disposal of products containing nanomaterials. Just as nanomaterial products offer useful novel properties, nanomaterial wastes may present regulators with unexpected and unique questions. Researchers are trying to assess how nanomaterials and nanoparticles released into the environment will migrate through groundwater, adhere to soil, move through air/water and water/sediment partitions, and become available for bio-uptake. For example, some scientists have raised concerns that the relatively large surface area presented by small amounts of nanoparticles may make such nanomaterials comparatively more toxic than similar amounts of larger-scaled versions of the same materials.