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Emissions and possible environmental Implication of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) in the atmosphere

Author: John, A.C. · Küpper, M. · Manders-Groot, A.M.M. · Debray, B. · Lacome, J.M. · Kuhlbusch, T.A.J.
Publisher: MDPI AG
Source:Atmosphere, 5, 8, 1-29
Identifier: 766493
doi: doi:10.3390/atmos8050084
Article number: 84
Keywords: Emission · Aerosols · Atmospheric transport · Engineered nanomaterials · ENMs · Release · Transformation processes · Ultrafine particles · Environment & Sustainability · Urbanisation · 2015 Urban Mobility & Environment · CAS - Climate, Air and Sustainability · ELSS - Earth, Life and Social Sciences


In spite of the still increasing number of engineered nanomaterial (ENM) applications, large knowledge gaps exist with respect to their environmental fate, especially after release into air. This review aims to summarize the current knowledge of emissions and behavior of airborne engineered nanomaterials. The whole ENM lifecycle is considered from the perspective of possible releases into the atmosphere. Although in general, emissions during use phase and end-of-life seem to play a minor role compared to entry into soil and water, accidental and continuous emissions into air can occur especially during production and some use cases such as spray application. Implications of ENMs on the atmosphere as e.g.; photo-catalytic properties or the production of reactive oxygen species are reviewed as well as the influence of physical processes and chemical reactions on the ENMs. Experimental studies and different modeling approaches regarding atmospheric transformation and removal are summarized. Some information exists especially for ENMs, but many issues can only be addressed by using data from ultrafine particles as a substitute and research on the specific implications of ENMs in the atmosphere is still needed. © 2017 by the authors.