This review covers developments in studies of nanomaterials (NMs) in the environment, since the much-cited review of Klaine et al. (2008). It discusses novel insights on fate and behavior, metrology, transformations, bioavailability, toxicity mechanisms and environmental impacts, with a focus on terrestrial and aquatic systems. Overall the findings were that: i) despite the substantial developments, there remain critical gaps, in large part due to the lack of analytical, modelling and field capabilities and in part due to the breadth and complexity of the area; ii) a key knowledge gap is the lack of data on environmental concentrations and dosimetry generally; iii) there is substantial evidence that there are nano-specific effects (different from both ions and larger particles) in the environment in terms of fate, bioavailability and toxicity, but this is not consistent for all NMs, species and all relevant processes; iv) a paradigm is emerging that NMs are less toxic than equivalent dissolved materials but more toxic than the corresponding bulk materials; v) translation of incompletely understood science into regulation and policy continues to be challenging. There is a developing consensus that NMs may pose a relatively low environmental risk, however, with the uncertainty and lack of data in many areas, definitive conclusions cannot be drawn. In addition, this emerging consensus will likely change rapidly with qualitative changes in the technology and increased future discharges. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.



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Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry



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School of Biological and Marine Sciences


Aquatic and soil organisms, Hazard/risk assessment, Nanoecotoxicity, Nanomaterials, Nanometrology