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Issue 2, 2017
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Research highlights: applications of life-cycle assessment as a tool for characterizing environmental impacts of engineered nanomaterials

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Abstract

The upstream and downstream environmental impacts of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are increasingly realized, and have motivated research to advance promising applications while precluding adverse impacts. Life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a comprehensive tool that considers the entire lifetime of a material, product or process—from raw material acquisition to end-of-life—and can be used to characterize these impacts as various environmental and human health categories. The motivation for this highlight stems from the curiosity of experimentalists and theorists researching the environmental and biological impacts that could result from widespread implementation of nanotechnology. In particular, we are motivated to identify how our research on the nano–bio interface can liaise with the nano-LCA community to advance nano-LCA in a safe and sustainable manner. As such, this highlight focuses on four recent nano-LCA publications that survey across several system levels and address the topics of: (i) upstream impacts from nanoparticle synthesis, (ii) extended lifetimes through the incorporation of ENMs in paints, (iii) integration of nano-specific data into existing life-cycle models, and (iv) the establishment of a nano-specific LCA framework.

Graphical abstract: Research highlights: applications of life-cycle assessment as a tool for characterizing environmental impacts of engineered nanomaterials

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Publication details

The article was first published on 06 Feb 2017


Article type: Highlight
DOI: 10.1039/C7EN90005H
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2017,4, 276-281
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    Research highlights: applications of life-cycle assessment as a tool for characterizing environmental impacts of engineered nanomaterials

    M. J. Gallagher, C. Allen, J. T. Buchman, T. A. Qiu, P. L. Clement, M. O. P. Krause and L. M. Gilbertson, Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2017, 4, 276
    DOI: 10.1039/C7EN90005H

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