Nanotechnology: Fate and Transport
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As nanotechnology progresses from research and development to commercialization and use, manufactured nanomaterials may be released into the environment. EPA is interested in determining the routes through which manufactured nanomaterials enter the environment and their modes of dispersion, interaction, and degradation within the environment: soil, water, atmosphere, and biosphere. Persistence and bioaccumulation/ biomagnification are factors that offer guidance for determining whether substances are classified as hazardous.
Although the short-term effects of a toxic nanomaterial may result from a single exposure, the long-term effects due to bioaccumulation and persistency may be more severe, ranging from lasting health problems to organ damage. Biomagnification, a side effect of bioaccumulation, is the amplification of the concentrations of nanomaterials in each successive step in the food chain. Keeping in mind the novel properties of nanomaterials, new or modified test methods, basic datasets for environmental fate/transport endpoints, and applications of new or existing air dispersion, soil transport, groundwater models may be needed.