Nanomaterials are widely used in the field of engineering and in modern society. Although the unique characteristics of nanoparticles also enable them to provide environmental solutions to reduce the formation and emissions of pollutants, adverse effects on human health may occur from the exposure to nanomaterials during the manufacturing processes and when nanomaterials are released and they contaminate the environment. It is essential to understand the factors affecting the accumulation, aggregation, deposition, translocation, and distribution of nanomaterials (natural or engineered) in the ecosystem. This study presents an extensive review of the environmental effects of nanomaterials, including classification, adverse impacts on human health and the environment, transport pathways, monitoring methods, and the current regulations regarding nanomaterials. The review indicates that the diversity of nanoparticles and their properties make the identification and characterization of nanomaterials a difficult task, and an improvement in sensitivity and selectivity of analytical methods for detecting nanoparticles in the environment is required. Besides, few regulations have been established for the management of nanoparticles released into the environment. In order to expedite the environmental management of nanomaterials, this study proposes a risk assessment framework based on the findings in the review as a practice alternative for the environmental assessment and effective management of nanomaterials. Development of practical innovative risk-based management measures may help us to find answers to the concerns such as safety of engineering and applying nanomaterials and effective control of nanoparticle contamination in the environment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
- Environmental effects
- Risk assessment