Abstract of PhD Thesis

Development of a risk assessment methodology for evaluating ecotoxicological dispersion and human risks from nanoparticles through the environmental pathways

Niall O’Brien, University College Dublin(2011)

Environmental contamination and unintentional human exposure to engineered nanomaterials is of particular concern to toxicologists and regulators. This project focused on assessing potential nanomaterial exposure, fate and hazard with a view to developing robust methods to identify areas where data is lacking and rank the inherent risk. The relative aquatic risks posed by emerging nano-scale pollutants were considered within an exposure assessment matrix according to their potential release, transport and fate characteristics, with an emphasis on metal oxide nanomaterials with environmental applications. Provisional limits of concern were developed from scientific literature related to current baseline environmental concentrations, potential regulatory status and known (eco)toxicity. The results of this study feed into regulatory guidance on the usage and disposal of nano-functionalised commercial products, monitoring in the environment and treatment processes.