Potential release pathways, environmental fate, and ecological risks of carbon nanotubes

Elijah J. Petersen, Liwen Zhang, Nikolai T. Mattison, Denis M. O'Carroll, Andrew J. Whelton, Nasir Uddin, Tinh Nguyen, Qingguo Huang, Theodore B Henry, R David Holbrook, Kai Loon Chen

    Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

    382 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are currently incorporated into various consumer products, and numerous new applications and products containing CNTs are expected in the future. The potential for negative effects caused by CNT release into the environment is a prominent concern and numerous research projects have investigated possible environmental release pathways, fate, and toxicity. However, this expanding body of literature has not yet been systematically reviewed. Our objective is to critically review this literature to identify emerging trends as well as persistent knowledge gaps on these topics. Specifically, we examine the release of CNTs from polymeric products, removal in wastewater treatment systems, transport through surface and subsurface media, aggregation behaviors, interactions with soil and sediment particles, potential transformations and degradation, and their potential ecotoxicity in soil, sediment, and aquatic ecosystems. One major limitation in the current literature is quantifying CNT masses in relevant media (polymers, tissues, soils, and sediments). Important new directions include developing mechanistic models for CNT release from composites and understanding CNT transport in more complex and environmentally realistic systems such as heteroaggregation with natural colloids and transport of nanoparticles in a range of soils.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)9837-9856
    Number of pages20
    JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
    Volume45
    Issue number23
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011

    Keywords

    • FIELD-FLOW FRACTIONATION
    • IN-VIVO ECOTOXICITY
    • DAPHNIA-MAGNA
    • BLACK CARBON
    • ZEBRAFISH DANIO-RERIO
    • NEAR-INFRARED FLUORESCENCE
    • ACTIVATED-SLUDGE
    • POLYETHYLENEIMINE-MEDIATED FUNCTIONALIZATION
    • NATURAL ORGANIC-MATTER
    • POROUS-MEDIA

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