Metallic nanoparticle production and consumption in China between 2000 and 2010 and associative aquatic environmental risk assessment

  • Yang Gao
  • Zhuanxi Luo
  • Nianpeng He
  • Ming K. Wang


With rapid advances in nanotechnology and nanomaterials, metallic nanoparticles (MNPs) have become widely used in many different products and industrial processes. Water is an important medium in the transfer and fate of MNPs. Accordingly, the potential for the inadvertent and incidental release of MNPs into aquatic environments through direct release and waste disposal has increased considerably in China in recent years. Environmental health and human safety are two of the greatest challenges facing the expanding nanomaterial field. However, existing knowledge on MNP toxicity is currently insufficient to carry out a comprehensive risk assessment due to a general lack of data related to the environmental distribution of MNPs within aquatic environments. This study provides a summary of MNP production and consumption trends in China by means of statistical changes in MNP discharge and deposition between 2000 and 2010. China was used as a model for aquatic environmental risks associated with MNP consumption and production. MNP pollution of aquatic environments is discussed as well as the challenges that China will face in the future with increasing nanomaterial consumption and pollution. The study concludes with a discussion on managing MNP exposure of aquatic environments in China and its subsequent risks, if any, which may require greater attention.


Metallic nanoparticle Nanomaterial Nano risk Aquatic environment China 



We thank Brian Doonan (McGill University, Canada) for his help in writing this paper and provide useful suggestions. This work was financially supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (41001327, 41271484, and 31200404) and the “Bingwei” Excellent Talents program from the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) (2012RC202). The authors would also like to thank all anonymous reviewers for their helpful remarks.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and ModelingInstitute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Urban Environment and HealthInstitute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of SciencesXiamenChina
  3. 3.Department of Agricultural ChemistryNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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