Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, 14:1109 | Cite as

Industrial production quantities and uses of ten engineered nanomaterials in Europe and the world

  • Fabiano Piccinno
  • Fadri Gottschalk
  • Stefan Seeger
  • Bernd Nowack


Not much is known so far about the amounts of engineered nanomaterials (ENM) that are produced but this information is crucial for environmental exposure assessment. This paper provides worldwide and Europe-wide estimates for the production and use of ten different ENM (TiO2, ZnO, FeO x , AlO x , SiO2, CeO2, Ag, quantum dots, CNT, and fullerenes) based on a survey sent to companies producing and using ENM. The companies were asked about their estimate of the worldwide or regional market and not about their company-specific production, information that they would be less likely to communicate. The study focused on the actual production quantities and not the production capacities. The survey also addressed information on distribution of the produced ENM to different product categories. The results reveal that some ENM are produced in Europe in small amounts (less than 10 t/year for Ag, QDs and fullerenes). The most produced ENM is TiO2 with up to 10,000 t of worldwide production. CeO2, FeO x , AlO x , ZnO, and CNT are produced between 100 and 1000 t/year. The data for SiO2 cover the whole range from less than 10 to more than 10,000 t/year, which is indicative of problems related to the definition of this material (is pyrogenic silica considered an ENM or not?). For seven ENM we have obtained the first estimates for their distribution to different product categories, information that also forms the base for life-cycle based exposure analysis.


Production quantities Nanomaterials Europe 



We thank all the respondents of the company survey who made this study possible. We also thank Martin Birtel from Empa for help with the SurveyMonkey online tool and Thomas Ruddy for correcting the English.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabiano Piccinno
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fadri Gottschalk
    • 1
  • Stefan Seeger
    • 2
  • Bernd Nowack
    • 1
  1. 1.Empa–Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and TechnologyTechnology and Society LaboratorySt. GallenSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Physical ChemistryUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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