Environmental Impact of Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles – Applying Life Cycle Thinking and Risk Assessment for Swedish Conditions
Conference poster, 2008
The risks of nanoparticles have been issued by several different groups, e.g. The Royal Society (2004) and Friends of the Earth (2006), and the concept nanotoxicology has been introduced to underline the distinctive toxicological features of nanoparticles (Oberdörster et al. 2005). Some nanoparticles, such as carbon nanotubes, have been outlined as hazardous and great caution has been suggested before introducing carbon nanotubes into the market (Poland et al. 2008). According to a risk assessment performed by Mueller and Nowack (2007), titanium dioxide nanoparticles had higher predicted environmental concentration compared with the predicted no effect concentration than both silver nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes, and further detailed studies regarding titanium dioxide nanoparticles were suggested. However, no sensitivity analysis was performed in Mueller and Nowack (2007), and a crude model was used to model environmental faith of the titanium dioxide nanoparticles. Our study applied substance flow analysis in order to facilitate a comprehensive environmental risk assessment of titanium dioxide nanoparticles (see e.g. Tsunemi and Wada (2008) and Fuster et al. (2002)). A detailed investigation of the production of titanium dioxide nanoparticles and their application in society was performed facilitating hazard identification according to Hansen et al. (2007). Emissions were calculated based on use assumptions and a modelling of the environmental faith of the titanium dioxide nanoparticles was attempted including the particle aggregation and interaction with natural organic substances that modify bioavailability. Predicted environmental concentrations were calculated and compared with predicted no effect concentrations according to several ecotoxicological studies and in order to assess the uncertainty a sensitivity analysis was performed for input parameters.