Release of nanoparticles from polymer nanocomposites along their life cycle: Nanopolytox Approach

G. Vilar, E. Fernández-Rosas, M. Busquets-Fité, V. Puntes, S. Vázquez-Campos
Technological Center Leitat, ES

Keywords: nanocomposites, surface nanomaterial


The global industry is moving forward taking advantages of the new opportunities and prospects offered by nanotechnology; therefore it is necessary that these developments take place in a safe and sustainable manner. The increasing use of nanomaterials in consumer products has raised concerns over their safety to human health and the environment. Currently, there are major gaps regarding to the health and environment risks presented by the nanomaterials. [ ] During the life cycle of a nanomaterial workers and consumers are exposed to these materials. While workers are exposed during the process of production and the process of recycling or disposal of the industrial nanoproducts, consumers are exposed during the use of the products. Moreover, sooner or later the nanomaterials are free to enter the environment. Therefore, an exhaustive characterization and toxicological evaluation [ ] at different stages of the life cycle of nanomaterials used in industrial production is required. It is incorrect to assume that polymeric nanocomposites since nanoparticles are fixed in a polymer matrix they pose no threat to workers or, after disposal, to the environment. Free particles can emerge during any one of these stages, or if the finished product breaks down, either through damage, recycling, or by degradability. Finally, the risk associated to nanomaterials can change during its life cycle due to chemical or physical degradations. Considering the life cycle of a nanomaterial several stages have to be examined: nanomaterial manufacturing, processing, use, and disposal/recycling. In this presentation, there will be a description of the strategy proposed to determine the release of nanoparticles from polymer nanocomposites along their life cycle. In particular, the results generated on release of nanoparticles were focused in the use and end of life stages of polymer nanocomposites. The Nanopolytox approach includes monitoring of the chemical and physical properties of the nanomaterials and their toxicity at the different life cycle stages. The monitoring of nanomaterials properties contributed to determine the biological and environmental fate of these nanomaterials. Furthermore, the theoretical analysis of the data collected along the life cycle lead to the development of predictive models for the impact of nanomaterials on human health and environment which facilitates the construction of LCA analyses specific to nanomaterials.