Nanoparticles: a global vision. Characterization, separation, and quantification methods. Potential environmental and health impact
Nanotechnology is a multidisciplinary science that includes scientific and technological activities at molecular and atomic scales (1–100 nm). Scientific principles and new properties can be understood and controlled when working at this scale. Nanotechnology is advancing rapidly due to the great progress achieved in various fields including electronics, mechanics, medicine, cosmetics, food, etc. This increased use of nano-sized materials leads to the release of a substantial amount of nanoparticles into the environment. To date there is a lack of standardized procedures to assess their safety and impact on the environment. Specific toxicological studies as well as characterization and quantification of nanoparticles are required to establish regulations to control field application of nanoscale materials. A classification of nanoparticles and the techniques employed in their characterization, separation, and quantification are summarized and described in this review. A global perspective on nanoparticle exposure and environmental effect is also discussed.