Assessment of release and toxicity of NP from silicon-based polymer composites in a life cycle perspective

A. Irfan, S. Sachse, J. Njuguna, H. Zhu
Cranfield University, UK

Keywords: life cycle analysis, toxicity, nanocomposite, nanoparticle release


Nanomaterial integration in public domain raises concerns regarding human health impact. This study examines the possibility of nanoparticle release from new engineered nanocomposites, using real life scenarios in life cycle analysis approach. Physical and biological charactierisation was conducted on polymer composites and unmodified ‘raw’ silica nanoparticles. these nanomaterials were then used to assess the in vitro toxicity in exposure generated models. Findings of this study show that not only will nanoparticles be released but they will be released in a unique manner depending on the polymer and the reinforcement mix. However, the in vitro model showed little acute toxity occuring from nanocomposite generated nanoparticles. the raw silica nanoparticles showed a higher toxicity under the same conditions. This study shows that integration of life cycle analysis of the material and the toxicity profile of the material are both required. Only after both are integrated can a complete and accurate risk assessment of a given materials be conducted.