Nanoparticles and the environment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

461 Scopus citations


Nanoparticles are a class of materials with properties distinctively different from their bulk and molecular counterparts. A critical review of the very broad topic of environmental nanoparticles is presented. Because of the vast nature of the topic, the review is focused primarily on gas-borne nanoparticles. The “life history of nanoparticles” is presented, tracking it from its formation to its potential use and eventual fate in the environment. Nanoparticle sources, anthropogenic emissions from industrial and occupational settings, and conversion and formation in the atmosphere are discussed. The ability to characterize and capture these nanoparticles (as would be necessary in a nanoparticle production system), as well as their control (of emissions from an industrial source) is discussed. A description on the use of nanoparticles in environmental technologies and the potential impact on the energy sector is provided. The potential effects on human health and the environment, both adverse and beneficial, are important aspects that need to be considered. As will be evident, the study of “environmental nanoparticles” is a new and fast-growing field. Much work remains to be done before we can fully harness the advantages of nanoparticles and ensure that there are no potential adverse consequences. A set of recommendations for additional work in each area is provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-746
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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