Nanomaterial Transport, Transformation, and Fate in the Environment

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The existing approaches for assessing the environmental risks of nanomaterials need to be adapted to the behaviors of nanomaterials before they can provide reliable information. Assessing or predicting these risks requires understanding of the potential sources of these materials to the environment, their distribution once released, their transformations and persistence, and their potential negative effects. In this chapter we discuss the potential sources of nanomaterials released to the environment, then we present potential physical and biogeochemical processes that can affect the fate, transport, and transformations of manufactured nanomaterials released into the environment. Finally, we discuss modifications of existing risk analysis methods needed and the most important data gaps that must be filled in order to assess the environmental risks associated with these materials.