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Nanomaterials in Waste Streams

Current Knowledge on Risks and Impacts

image of Nanomaterials in Waste Streams

Nanotechnology is an emerging and promising field for advanced applications in industrial, commercial and medical sectors, and nanomaterials can be found today in sunscreens, deodorants and textiles. Yet these nanomaterials, which are increasing in number, are entering waste streams as part of end-of-life products along with conventional waste, without any real understanding of their environmental impacts or health risks on human beings and living organisms.

This report provides a literature review on four specific waste treatment processes (recycling, incineration, landfilling and wastewater treatment). While state-of-the-art waste treatment facilities may collect, divert or eliminate nanomaterials from these waste streams, the report concludes that knowledge gaps associated with their final disposal remain, underlining the need for further research in this area.

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Executive summary

Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs), defined as in the scale of 1nm to 100nm, are increasingly utilised in applications of industrial, commercial and medical sectors bringing many benefits to society in the field of health and medical care, clothing, construction material, electronic and sporting equipment. Examples of products that contain ENMs are sunscreen, deodorant, water repellent and antibacterial textiles, lithium ion batteries, glass coating, and tennis rackets.

English

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