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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(9), 3562-3578; doi:10.3390/ijerph8093562
Review

Issues in Assessing Environmental Exposures to Manufactured Nanomaterials

1,* , 2
 and
3
Received: 2 April 2011 / Revised: 15 August 2011 / Accepted: 17 August 2011 / Published: 31 August 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Pollution: Prevention and Mitigation)
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Abstract

Manufactured nanomaterials (MNs) are commonly considered to be commercial products possessing at least one dimension in the size range of 10−9 m to 10−7 m. As particles in this size range represent the smaller fraction of colloidal particles characterized by dimensions of 10−9 m to 10−6 m, they differ from both molecular species and bulk particulate matter in the sense that they are unlikely to exhibit significant settling under normal gravitational conditions and they are also likely to exhibit significantly diminished diffusivities (when compared to truly dissolved species) in environmental media. As air/water, air/soil, and water/soil intermedium transport is governed by diffusive processes in the absence of significant gravitational and inertial impaction processes in environmental systems, models of MN environmental intermedium transport behavior will likely require an emphasis on kinetic approaches. This review focuses on the likely environmental fate and transport of MNs in atmospheric and aquatic systems. Should significant atmospheric MNs emission occur, previous observations suggest that MNs may likely exhibit an atmospheric residence time of ten to twenty days. Moreover, while atmospheric MN aggregates in a size range of 10−7 m to 10−6 m will likely be most mobile, they are least likely to deposit in the human respiratory system. An examination of various procedures including the Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) theory of colloidal particle suspension stability in water indicates that more sophisticated approaches may be necessary in order to develop aquatic exposure models of acceptable uncertainty. In addition, concepts such as Critical Coagulation Concentrations and Critical Zeta Potentials may prove to be quite useful in environmental aquatic exposure assessments.
Keywords: manufactured nanomaterials; atmospheric emissions; aquatic emissions; ultrafine particles; DLVO theory; zeta potential; Critical Coagulation Concentration manufactured nanomaterials; atmospheric emissions; aquatic emissions; ultrafine particles; DLVO theory; zeta potential; Critical Coagulation Concentration
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Loux, N.T.; Su, Y.S.; Hassan, S.M. Issues in Assessing Environmental Exposures to Manufactured Nanomaterials. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8, 3562-3578.

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