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New products containing nanomaterials are constantly being released to the market and used for diverse purposes. As a result, growing amounts of products containing nanomaterials enter the end-of-life phase of the lifecycle and are disposed. Nanowaste in solid or liquid form is currently treated as normal waste and is hence disposed via the existing waste management systems. Also, nanowaste may enter the environment directly through littering. Prevention of littering and illegal dumping of waste is generally achieved through good practices in waste management and education. However, to date...

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Nanotechnology is a future labour market, since this branch of industry is quickly growing internationally. In 2013, a total of 1.100 companies in Germany applied nanotechnology in research and development, or were active in marketing commercial goods and services based on nanotechnology [1]. The development and production of nanomaterials is only a part of the picture. Many industrial branches use nanomaterials to manufacture products, from nail polish to cars. As far as nano-specific become important, experts who are competent in this area have to come into play.   What are the...

Risk analysis is broadly defined to include risk assessment, risk characterization, risk communication, risk management, and policy relating to risk, in the context of risks of concern to individuals, to public- and private-sector organizations, and to society at a local, regional, national, or global level [1].In general, the term "risk" denotes the potential loss of something of value, e.g. health or an intact environment or simply your purse. A risk exists only if hazard and exposure occur together. A complete risk analysis of a new material is a multi-step process.Important...

Risk assessment
Risk is defined differently depending on the (scientific) discipline. In general, the term "risk" denotes the potential loss of something of value, e.g. health or an intact environment or simply your purse. A risk exists only if hazard and exposure occur together.In toxicology, the term risk describes the function of the probability of "exposure" to the "hazard" potential a given material exhibits: RiskTox = f{exposure; hazard}. In contrast to the simplified explanation given in the basics article Do nanomaterials harbour risks? a closer look shows that the definition of...

Risk management
The definition of a level of acceptable risk of new nanomaterials is defined on a societal consensus and political decision based on scientific risk assessment. The measures to reduce or prevent risks are part of adapted or new laws and regulations which stand at the end of a sophisticated process called risk management. During the process and at the very end the measures have to be disseminated and explained properly. Risk management of nanomaterials is an integral part of risk analysis and is directly based on risk assessment. For nanomaterials, usually a chemical risk assessment is...

Coloured clothing taken from a washing machine. © kalcutta / fotolia.com
The textile industry is one of the most important industries for consumer goods worldwide generating textiles for clothing, household goods, furnishing and technical purposes. Like other chemical processes and technologies, nanomaterials are used to add or improve different functionalities of the textiles. These materials could have an adverse effect on humans and environment. Proper selection of nanomaterials and their careful integration in the fabric will help to reduce these possible impacts.From the raw material (e.g. cotton) to the final textile products. all images © fotolia.com...

Nanomaterials represent important new options for the treament of a variety of diseases. In medicine nanomaterials already are employed for various drugs, diagnostics, and implants. Presently, intense reseach is performed to explore further opportunities for using nanomaterials in the health sector, making nanomedicine an area that - including the public - receives strong attention What really is available right now and which new agents may become available in the foreseeable future? And how prudent should we be in order to prevent disappointments caused by exaggerated...

Colourful house facades (c) HuxFlux / fotolia.com
In general terms paint depicts a liquid that is used to coat a solid surface in order to protect, seal or colour it. For this purpose pigments such as solid particulates play an important role and have been used since millennia e.g. for cave painting. Today, nanomaterials are being used in order to improve the efficiency and to provide new functionalities to the paints. There are already several nano-enhanced paints on the market. Recent studies have investigated the benefits and risks of paints containing nanomaterials. Exploring the benefits and risks during early stages of...

Using the copy machine © Smileus / fotolia.com.
Toners are very fine powders mainly used in copy machines and laser printers. They are often composed of particles with 2-30 microns in diameter. The small particle sizes cause the powders to behave like liquids. Consumers can come into contact with toner particles or paper dust during maintenance work in the resting state of the device e.g. when toner cartridges are replaced or a paper jam has to be removed. During the printing operation with closed housings volatile substances and nanoparticles can be released through the ventilation system of the device into the ambient air leading...

Lattice structure of NaCl crystals. © natros / fotolia.com
Depending on external conditions such as temperature or pressure, atoms may arrange themselves in various ways in lattice structures. Therefore, for some materials with the same proportions of contained elements, different crystal structures exist. Nanomaterials with different crystal structures may differ in important physicochemical properties (e.g. reactivity or photocatalytic activity). Accordingly, in such cases only a specific crystal structure is used for a given application. The different crystal structures are not only relevant for the various technical applications, but can also...

Different forms of coatings for nanoparticles
When talking about surface coatings of nanomaterials often terms such as modification, functionalisation or stabilisation are used. This diversity in terms reflects the different motivations for using a coating or for its intended function.Generally, surface coatings of nanomaterials are applied in order to selectively change or influence distinct particle properties. For this purpose, the surface of a particle (the “core“) can be covered with a wide variety of substances which in return generates single- or multi-layers layer(s) (the “shell”) that can be either complete or incomplete...

 

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