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Environmental Impacts by Fragments Released from Nanoenabled Products: A Multiassay, Multimaterial Exploration by the SUN Approach

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Department of Biology and CESAM, University of Aveiro, 3810-193, Aveiro, Portugal
College of Environmental Science and Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
§ Division of NanoMedicine, Department of Medicine, Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, California NanoSystems Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, United States
Department of Ecotoxicology, Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology, Auf dem Aberg 1, 57392 Schmallenberg, Germany
Department of Environment, Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA), Centra De la Coruña Km 7.5, E-28040 Madrid, Spain
# Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics (DAIS), University Ca’ Foscari of Venice, Via Torino 155, 30170 Venice Mestre, Italy
National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics (CNR-ISTEC), Via Granarolo, 64, I-48018 Faenza, Italy
Department of Material Physics, BASF SE, Carl-Bosch-Strasse 38, 67056 Ludwigshafen, Germany
Department of Experimental Toxicology and Ecology, BASF SE, D-67056 Ludwigshafen, Germany
Department of Environmental Geosciences, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria
Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Vejlsovej 25, PO Box 314, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark
Cite this: Environ. Sci. Technol. 2018, 52, 3, 1514–1524
Publication Date (Web):January 27, 2018
Copyright © 2018 American Chemical Society
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Abstract Image

Nanoenabled products (NEPs) have numerous outdoor uses in construction, transportation or consumer scenarios, and there is evidence that their fragments are released in the environment at low rates. We hypothesized that the lower surface availability of NEPs fragment reduced their environmental effects with respect to pristine nanomaterials. This hypothesis was explored by testing fragments generated by intentional micronisation (“the SUN approach”; Nowack et al. Meeting the Needs for Released Nanomaterials Required for Further Testing: The SUN Approach. Environmental Science & Technology, 2016 (50), 2747). The NEPs were composed of four matrices (epoxy, polyolefin, polyoxymethylene, and cement) with up to 5% content of three nanomaterials (carbon nanotubes, iron oxide, and organic pigment). Regardless of the type of nanomaterial or matrix used, it was observed that nanomaterials were only partially exposed at the NEP fragment surface, indicating that mostly the intrinsic and extrinsic properties of the matrix drove the NEP fragment toxicity. Ecotoxicity in multiple assays was done covering relevant media from terrestrial to aquatic, including sewage treatment plant (biological activity), soil worms (Enchytraeus crypticus), and fish (zebrafish embryo and larvae and trout cell lines). We designed the studies to explore the possible modulation of ecotoxicity by nanomaterial additives in plastics/polymer/cement, finding none. The results support NEPs grouping by the matrix material regarding ecotoxicological effect during the use phase. Furthermore, control results on nanomaterial-free polymer fragments representing microplastic had no significant adverse effects up to the highest concentration tested.

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The Supporting Information is available free of charge on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b04122.

  • Tables showing nanomaterials, matrices of nanoenabled products, physical and chemical properties along the synthesis lifecycle, biologically accessible tracers of CNT, number-based suspension characterization, and effects caused by pristine and fragmented materials. Additional data on NEP fragmentation processes, surface chemistry, the preparation of materials for zebrafish testing, and details on methods and results with cell lines. Figures showing additional SEM scans of shape and surface structure of FPs, the results of the line-shape analysis, dissolved aluminum and cobalt concentration, the preparation of water-accomodated fractions, aquatic compartment screening on zebrafish embryos, cytotoxicity of multiple-wall carbon nanotubes and of fragmented products, and survival and reproduction results. (PDF)

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