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Research Reports
A study on the establishment of safe nanowastes management strategy
With the rapid development of nanotechnology, the use of nanomaterials has increased sharply in various industrial, medical and environmental sectors. A considerable amount of nanomaterials have been discharged in the form of nanowastes in manufacturing plants or laboratories, or after being used by consumers. Concerns over the safety risks of these nanomaterials or nanoproducts to human health have also been continuously raised. In Korea, the world's third largest producer of nano-goods, there are little data about how nanowastes are exposed to the environment and discharged.
In case nanowastes are recycled, nanoparticles containing dust are discharged in the crushing process and released, having negative effects on workers’ health and the environment. In the incineration process, materials coated onto nanoproducts are converted to toxic substances such as dioxin and are likely to be released into the atmosphere. In addition, sludges and ashes generated during wastewater treatment and incineration, respectively, which contain large amounts of nanomaterials end up in landfills and are discharged back into the environment in the form of leachate as secondary nanowastes.
In this study, we examined the behavior of nanomaterials based on the mass flow analysis (MFA) applied from the major sources of nanowastes to the final landfill by way of waste treatment facilities. By analyzing the available domestic and international papers and official data, we derived implications and analyzed the management system and issues by estimating the flows of well-known nanomaterials (n-TiO2, n