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Toxicity of Nanoparticles to Aquatic Life and Potential Treatment Methods

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Although nano-scale particles have long been in use in some manufacturing fields, there has been a rapid emergence of the use of nanoparticles in new manufacturing processes, consumer products, and medical research. The use of such materials has widely been of concern with respect to occupational exposure. However, knowledge of the fate, treatability, and effects of nanoparticles in aquatic systems has not kept pace with the rapid emergence of the manufacture and use of these materials. Preliminary data on the characteristics of nanoparticles in water indicate that carbon-based particles are generally hydrophobic. Nano scale metals, particularly oxides, will not ionize and likely occur as insoluble colloids. Very few treatability studies have been conducted to date on the removal of nanoparticles from industrial process water or municipal wastewater. Effective removal technologies are likely to be flocculation with a coagulant, enmeshment in biological sludge, and sand filtration and/or membrane filtration. One problem with the treatability studies is the lack of reliable analytical techniques to measure the presence of nanoparticles in wastewater.

Keywords: Aquatic Toxicity; Nano-materials; Nanoparticles; Wastewater Treatment

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 29, 2007

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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