Life cycle and nano-products: end-of-life assessment
Twomey, Janet M.
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Asmatulu, Eylem, Janet Twomey, and Michael Overcash. 2012. "Life cycle and nano-products: end-of-life assessment". Journal of Nanoparticle Research. 14 (3): 1-8.
Understanding environmental impacts of nanomaterials necessitates analyzing the life cycle profile. The initial emphasis of nanomaterial life cycle studies has been on the environmental and health effects of nanoproducts during the production and usage stages. Analyzing the end-of-life (eol) stage of nanomaterials is also critical because significant impacts or benefits for the environment may arise at that particular stage. In this article, the Woodrow Wilson Center's Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) Consumer Products Inventory (CPI) model was used, which contains a relatively large and complete nanoproduct list (1,014) as of 2010. The consumer products have wide range of applications, such as clothing, sports goods, personal care products, medicine, as well as contributing to faster cars and planes, more powerful computers and satellites, better micro and nanochips, and long-lasting batteries. In order to understand the eol cycle concept, we allocated 1,014 nanop! roducts into the nine end-of-life categories (e. g., recyclability, ingestion, absorption by skin/public sewer, public sewer, burning/landfill, landfill, air release, air release/public sewer, and other) based on probable final destinations of the nanoproducts. This article highlights the results of this preliminary assessment of end-of-life stage of nanoproducts. The largest potential eol fate was found to be recyclability, however little literature appears to have evolved around nanoproduct recycling. At lower frequency is dermal and ingestion human uptake and then landfill. Release to water and air are much lower potential eol fates for current nanoproducts. In addition, an analysis of nano-product categories with the largest number of products listed indicated that clothes, followed by dermal-related products and then sports equipment were the most represented in the PEN CPI (http://www.nanotechproject.org/inventories/consumer/browse/categories/ 2010).
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