Directions and possibilities of the safe nanowaste management

Bożena MROWIEC* – Institute of Environmental Protection and Engineering, University of Bielsko-Biala, Bielsko-Biala, Poland
Please cite as: CHEMIK 2016, 70, 10, 593–596

Nanotechnology is a field of growing scientific interest due to the properties of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) which are utilized in a broad spectrum of applications. The International organization for Standardization (ISO) classified nanomaterials into three main groups: nanoparticles (all three dimensions between 1 and 100 nm); nanoplates (one dimension between 1 and 100 nm); and nanofibers (two dimensions between 1 and 100 nm). It was estimated, that in the year 2010 the global production of ENMs varied from 268,000 to 318,000 metric tons and it has since been increasing at a rate of about 25% per year [1–4]. Manufactures ENMs are classified as: carbonaceous nanomaterials (e.g., carbon nanotubes); semiconductors (e.g., quantum dots); metal oxides (e.g., zinc oxide); nanopolymers (e.g., dendrimers) and metals (e.g., silver). They stand out in order from most to least produced ENMs: TiO2>SiO2>ZnO>Fe and FeOx>Al2O3>CeO2>CNT>Ag [1, 5–6].

Nanomaterials can be released to the environment at any stage of the life cycle of products (LCA- Life Cycle Assessment), from the manufacture, use, and disposal or recycling processes. In the environment ENMs can undergo a number of potential transformations that depend on the properties both of the nanomaterials and of the receiving medium. The effects of many ENMs on human health and environment are not yet well understood. Not all ENMs possess hazardous properties. Not infrequently, studies performed on the same type of nanomaterials are inconsistent, because some studies show their biocompatibility, while others prove their potentially hazardous nature [7–10]. The hazardous nanomaterials as the new kind of pollutants have been named „nanocontaminants”.

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