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Investigation of the Hazard and Potential Ecological Risk of Manufactured Nanomaterials

Project Summary

Examples of nano material.

Nanotechnology is a rapidly expanding area of materials and chemical engineering that is expected to produce a wide range of new nanomaterials (materials that have at least one dimension between 1 and 100 nm). Manufactured nanomaterials are particulates, fibers, or agglomerates, have exponentially-increased surface area relative to bulk materials, and have physical/chemical characteristics strongly influenced by quantum mechanics rather than, or in addition to, the chemical properties historically used to characterize the toxicity of chemical stressors. These unique characteristics present challenges for regulatory testing programs within the EPA. For example, the test guidelines used by EPA and other regulatory agencies for chemical stressors are based on soluble rather than suspended substances. In addition, organism responses to exposure are currently quantified based on concentrations. In contrast, nanomaterial exposures will primarily involve particle suspensions that will require new approaches for quantifying organism response based on characteristics such as particle count and size (including size distribution), surface area, and other characteristics. Nanomaterials research at MED will address these challenges by focusing on the following:

Small aquatic animals can mistake nano materials for food and eat them.
Small aquatic animals can mistake nano materials (for example Ti02 or C60) for food and eat them.

Key products

The nanotechnology research effort is in its early stages. However, as part of the planning  process, MED researchers have been authors on several EPA, ORD, and MED planning documents. Dr. Steve Diamond has also chaired section groups within the Organization for Economic and Cooperative Development's (OECD) Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials, one of which has produced a draft summary report. The OECD report will also be presented as a platform presentation at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Society for Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology. 

Ma, H., A. Brennan, and S.A. Diamond. Phototoxicity of TiO2 nanoparticles under solar radiation to two aquatic species: Daphnia magna and Japanese Medaka. Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry, in press.

Ma, H., P.L. Williams, and S.A. Diamond. Ecotoxicity of manufactured ZnO nanoparticles--A review of in vivo data. Environmental Pollution, in press.

Nowack, B., J.F. Ranville, S. Diamond, J.A. Gallego-Urrea, C. Metcalfe, J. Rose, N. Horne, A.A. Koelmans, and S.J. Klaine. Potential scenarios for nanomaterial release and subsequent alteration in the environment. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, in press.

Aust, A.E., P.M. Cook, and R.F. Dodson. Morphological and chemical mechanisms of elongated mineral particle toxicities. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B: Critical Reviews.

Planning and review documents:

Draft Nanomaterial Research Strategy (EPA/600/S–08/002)

Exploratory Research Plan: Investigation of the Hazard and Potential Ecological Risk of Manufactured Nanomaterials

Report from SG4-2: Review of OECD Ecotoxicity Test Guidelines for their  Applicability to Manufactured Nanomaterials.

Ti02 settling time.

Presentations:

Ma, H., A. Brennan, and S.A. Diamond. Phototoxicity of TiO2 nanoparticles to two aquatic species: Daphnia magna and Zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryo. International Conference on Environmental Pollution and Public Health, Shanghai, China, May 17- 20, 2012.

Diamond, S.A. The role of sunlight in assessing environmental risk of nanoscale titania. Duke University, Chapel Hill, NC, October 28, 2011.

Diamond, S.A., H. Ma, A.A. Brennan, and J.D. Fernandez. Phototoxicity and dosimetry of nano-scale titanium dioxide in aquatic organisms. Canadian Society of Chemistry’s 94th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition, Montreal, QC, June 5- 9, 2011.

Diamond, S.A. , A. Brennan, and J.D. Fernandez. Phototoxicity and dosimetry of nano-scale titanium dioxide in aquatic organisms. SETAC North America 31st Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, November 7-11, 2010.

Hoheisel, S., A. Brennan, S.A. Diamond, and D.R. Mount. Effects of nanosilver on Daphnia magna and Pimephales promelas. SETAC North America 31st Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, November 7-11, 2010.

Diamond, S.A. Assessing the environmental safety of engineered nanomaterials. Workshop on Nanoscale Science, Technology and Innovation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 28-30, 2010.

Diamond, S.A. 2008. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency nanoparticle research needs. MidSouth SETAC Regional Chapter Annual Meeting, 14-16 May 14-16, Vicksburg, MS.

Diamond, S.A., C. Andersen, S. Hirano, M.G. Johnson, D.R. Mount, P. Pandard, P. Rygiewicz, J.J. Scott-Fordsmand, K. Stewart. 2008. An evaluation of regulatory ecotoxicity test guidelines: Their adequacy for nanomaterials. The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 29th Annual Meeting, 5-9, Tampa, FL.

Kennedy, A.J., S.A. Diamond, J. Goss, J. Steevens, J. Gunter, M. Hull. 2008. Assessing the implications of modified nanomaterials in bioassay testing. The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 29th Annual Meeting, 5-9, Tampa, FL.

Diamond, S.A. 2007. Ecotoxicology of nanomaterials. 22nd Annual EPA Risk Assessors Conference, July 9-12, Brooklyn, NY.

Project personnel


Name E-mail Phone
Steve Diamond diamond.steve@epa.gov 218-529-5209
David Mount mount.david@epa.gov 218-529-5157
Dale Hoff hoff.dale@epa.gov 218-529-5386

Research project update date

January 26, 2011

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