Environmental and health effects of nanomaterials in nanotextiles and façade coatings
Authors: Som, C; Wick, P; Krug, H; Nowack, B
Environment International 37:1131-1142. [Review]
HERO ID: 752037
Engineered nanomaterials (ENM) are expected to hold considerable potential for products that offer improved . . .
Engineered nanomaterials (ENM) are expected to hold considerable potential for products that offer improved or novel functionalities. For example, nanotechnologies could open the way for the use of textile products outside their traditional fields of applications, for example, in the construction, medical, automobile, environmental and safety technology sectors. Consequently, nanotextiles could become ubiquitous in industrial and consumer products in future. Another ubiquitous field of application for ENM is façade coatings. The environment and human health could be affected by unintended release of ENM from these products. The product life cycle and the product design determine the various environmental and health exposure situations. For example, ENM unintentionally released from geotextiles will probably end up in soils, whereas ENM unintentionally released from T-shirts may come into direct contact with humans and end up in wastewater. In this paper we have assessed the state of the art of ENM effects on the environment and human health on the basis of selected environmental and nanotoxicological studies and on our own environmental exposure modeling studies. Here, we focused on ENM that are already applied or may be applied in future to textile products and façade coatings. These ENM's are mainly nanosilver (nano-Ag), nano titanium dioxide (nano-TiO(2)), nano silica (nano-SiO(2)), nano zinc oxide (nano-ZnO), nano alumina (nano-Al(2)O(3)), layered silica (e.g. montmorillonite, Al(2)[(OH)(2)/Si(4)O(10)]nH(2)O), carbon black, and carbon nanotubes (CNT). Knowing full well that innovators have to take decisions today, we have presented some criteria that should be useful in systematically analyzing and interpreting the state of the art on the effects of ENM. For the environment we established the following criteria: (1) the indication for hazardous effects, (2) dissolution in water increases/decreases toxic effects, (3) tendency for agglomeration or sedimentation, (4) fate during waste water treatment, and (5) stability during incineration. For human health the following criteria were defined: (1) acute toxicity, (2) chronic toxicity, (3) impairment of DNA, (4) crossing and damaging of tissue barriers, (5) brain damage and translocation and effects of ENM in the (6) skin, (7) gastrointestinal or (8) respiratory tract. Interestingly, some ENM might affect the environment less severely than they might affect human health, whereas the case for others is vice versa. This is especially true for CNT. The assessment of the environmental risks is highly dependent on the respective product life cycles and on the amounts of ENM produced globally.