Multimodal characterisation of engineered nanomaterials in the environment.

Project Details

Description

Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are found in many consumer products including cosmetics and personal hygiene goods. Nanomaterials are also found in additives for diesel fuels to improve fuel efficiency. These materials will come into contact with the environment, for example, if they are washed down the sink, or if they become airbourne, however we currently have no idea about whether they are hazardous or not and regulations are not in place to control their release or treatment. The life cycle of ENMs in the environment is not known and there exist large knowledge gaps in this field. The reason for this is that the concentrations and properties of ENMs in consumer products are largely unknown (or not indicated bycompanies). Very little is known about the behaviour or lifetime of ENMs in the water effluent and soils as it's extremely hard to monitor this behaviour, as we do not have the tools to detect these tiny materials in very complex environments. This project will apply new and sophisticated experimental characterization tools for predicting potential environmental risks associated with the use of selected consumer products incorporating ZnO, Ag, TiO2 and CeO2 ENMs. An overarching goal is to evaluate which are the critical charateristics of ENMs (size, chemistry etc.) which may cause damage to the environment through two of the most predominant environmental pathways - from the effluent of a waste water treatment plant to waters and also from sewage sludge to soils. This information will ultimately to provide guidance to regulators on policy and to industry about how to design "safe" classes of ENMs and mitigate against risk, while avoiding overregulation.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date15/11/1514/11/19