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.



Incineration of waste containing nanomaterials

This chapter provides an overview of the emerging scientific findings on the behaviour and exposure of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) during the waste incineration process and identifies knowledge-gaps regarding specific aspects of the disposal of waste containing nanomaterials (WCNMs). The report includes a brief summary of the scientific information available on the behaviour of ENM during the waste incineration process, an overview of the ENMs of highest relevance in municipal solid waste incinerators (MSWI), a short description of the best available techniques (BAT) of waste incineration and the techniques meant to retain or destroy hazardous substances, as well as a discussion of the possible ways ENMs may pass through existing pollution control devices.


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