1. Exposure modeling of nanomaterials in the environment
Engineered nanomaterials (ENM) are already contained in many products and high growth rates are expected in the next years. During various stages of the life cycle of a product ENM can be released into the environment, e.g. during production, use, recycling or disposal. In order to conduct a realistic environmental risk assesment of ENM, we have to know the expected concentrations in environmental compartments such as water, soil and sediments. The aim of this work is to model the concentrations and the effects of ENM in the environment based on a life-cycle perspective. These data will provide a basis for the environmental risk assessment of nanoparticles.
Specific topics could include:
- Modeling release of ENM during recycling
- Modeling of ENM not investigated so far by our group (e.g. quantum dots, iron oxides, SiO2, aluminum oxides, CeO2)
2. Nanoparticle release from textiles, paints and other products
NaENM and nanocoatings are increasingly important as additives in synthetic fibers, in paints or other commercial products. This development has recently triggered a public discussion about the possible risk of the release of ENM from these products and their effects in the environment. Only little is known about the release mechanisms, lifetime, and impact on biological systems.
This work will address the question whether nanoparticles are released from products with embedded nanoparticles during use. One main focus will be on nano-silver containing textiles, the other on paints containing nano-TiO2 and nano-SiO2.
3. Behavior and effects of nanoparticles released from products
Assessing the risks of nanomaterials in requires a better understanding of their behavior in the environment. Whereas quite some knowledge is available about the behavior of pristine ENM (=those produced by industry), almost nothing is known so far about the reactions and behavior of those particles that are actually released from commercial products. These particles may have undergone significant aging and transformation reactions. It is the aim of this work to compare the environmental behavior of pristine and aged ENM. The work will focus on ENM released from textiles and paints.
Depending on the project the work will be either carried out at Empa St. Gallen, ETH Zurich or Empa Dübendorf
PD Dr. Bernd Nowack
Technology and Society Laboratory
Empa - Materials Science & Technology
CH - 9014 St. Gallen
Tel +41 (0)58 765 76 92