Dynamic Probabilistic Modeling of Environmental Emissions of Engineered Nanomaterials.

Environmental science & technology

PubMedID: 27043743

Sun T, Bornhöft NA, Hungerbuehler K, Nowack B. Dynamic Probabilistic Modeling of Environmental Emissions of Engineered Nanomaterials. Environ Sci Technol. 2016;.
The need for an environmental risk assessment for engineered nanomaterials (ENM) necessitates the knowledge about their environmental concentrations. Despite significant advances in analytical methods, it is still not possible to measure the concentrations of ENM in natural systems. Material flow and environmental fate models have been used to provide predicted environmental concentrations. However, almost all current models are static and consider neither the rapid development of ENM production nor the fact that many ENM are entering an in-use stock and are released with a lag phase. Here we use dynamic probabilistic material flow modeling to predict the flows of four ENM (nano-TiO2, nano-ZnO, nano-Ag and CNT) to the environment and to quantify their amounts in (temporary) sinks such as the in-use stock and ("final") environmental sinks such as soil and sediment. Caused by the increase in production, the concentrations of all ENM in all compartments are increasing. Nano-TiO2 had far higher concentrations than the other three ENM. Sediment showed in our worst-case scenario concentrations ranging from 6. 7 µg/kg (CNT) to about 40?000 µg/kg (nano-TiO2). In most cases the concentrations in waste incineration residues are at the "mg/kg" level. The flows to the environment that we provide will constitute the most accurate and reliable input of masses for environmental fate models which are using process-based descriptions of the fate and behavior of ENM in natural systems and rely on accurate mass input parameters.