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Title of Talk:
The fate, transport, transformation and toxicity of manufactured nanomaterials in drinking water

Abstract of Talk:

Yongsheng Chen (yschen@asu.edu), Paul Westerhoff, John Crittenden, and David Capco

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Department of Biology Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287

Objectives. Although the current market for nanomaterials is small and their concentration may not be high enough in the environment to cause human health or environmental problems, this market is increasing rapidly and the discharge of nanomaterials to environment in the near future could be significant as manufacturing costs decrease and new applications are discovered. The accumulation of nanomaterials in cells may have significant environmental and human impacts. However, at present, very little is known about the fate, transport, transformation and toxicity of these man-made nanomaterials in the environment.

The objectives of this project are: 1) to characterize the fundamental properties of nanomaterials in aquatic environments; 2) to examine the interactions between nanomaterials and toxic organic pollutants and pathogens (viruses); 3) to evaluate the removal efficiency of nanomaterials by drinking water unit processes; 4) to test the toxicity of nanomaterials in drinking water using cell culture model system of the epithelium. This study considers the physical, chemical, and biological implications of nanomaterial fate and toxicity in systems that will provide insight into the potential for nanomaterials to be present and of health concern in finished drinking water.

The proposed work will provide fundamental information about the fate, transport and transformation of nanomaterials in the drinking water resources and the first evidence that such nanomaterials can or cannot be removed by conventional drinking water treatment processes. An improved assessment will be developed for the potential exposure risks of nanomaterials in drinking water. This research would ultimately provide essential information that would support policy and decision-making regarding handling, disposal, and management of nanoscale materials in commerce, manufacturing and the environment.

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