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Ecotoxicity testing and environmental risk assessment of iron nanomaterials for sub-surface remediation – Recommendations from the FP7 project NanoRem

Journal article
Authors Rune Hjorth
Claire Coutris
Nhung H.A. Nguyen
Alena Sevcu
Julian A. Gallego-Urrea
Anders Baun
Erik J. Joner
Published in Chemosphere
Volume 182
Pages 525-531
ISSN 0045-6535
Publication year 2017
Published at
Pages 525-531
Language en
Keywords Ecotoxicology, Environmental risk assessment, Iron nanomaterials, NanoRem, Nanoremediation, nZVI
Subject categories Environmental chemistry, Environmental toxicology, Heavy metals and other metals, Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use, Environmental engineering, Nano Technology


© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Nanoremediation with iro n (Fe) nanomaterials opens new doors for treating contaminated soil and groundwater, but is also accompanied by new potential risks as large quantities of engineered nanomaterials are introduced into the environment. In this study, we have assessed the ecotoxicity of four engineered Fe nanomaterials, specifically, Nano-Goethite, Trap-Ox Fe-zeolites, Carbo-Iron ® and FerMEG12, developed within the European FP7 project NanoRem for sub-surface remediation towards a test battery consisting of eight ecotoxicity tests on bacteria (V. fisheri, E. coli), algae (P. subcapitata, Chlamydomonas sp.), crustaceans (D. magna), worms (E. fetida, L. variegatus) and plants (R. sativus, L. multiflorum). The tested materials are commercially available and include Fe oxide and nanoscale zero valent iron (nZVI), but also hybrid products with Fe loaded into a matrix. All but one material, a ball milled nZVI (FerMEG12), showed no toxicity in the test battery when tested in concentrations up to 100 mg/L, which is the cutoff for hazard labeling in chemicals regulation in Europe. However it should be noted that Fe nanomaterials proved challenging to test adequately due to their turbidity, aggregation and sedimentation behavior in aqueous media. This paper provides a number of recommendations concerning future testing of Fe nanomaterials and discusses environmental risk assessment considerations related to these.

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