Skip to Main Content

We have a new app!

Take the Access library with you wherever you go—easy access to books, videos, images, podcasts, personalized features, and more.

Download the Access App here: iOS and Android

  • Introduction

  • Nanomaterial Basics

    • Perspectives: Engineered

      • Nanoparticles Versus Ambient

      • Particulate Matter

    • Properties and Behaviors of ENPs

      • Versus Larger Particles

    • Classes of ENMs

    • Physicochemical Properties of Nanomaterials Relevant for Toxicity

      • Surface Area and Reactivity

      • Surface Charge

      • Surface Chemistry

      • Unique Quantum and Magnetic Properties

      • Geometry and Dimensions

      • Biopersistence

  • The Nanomaterial Biological Interface

  • Toxicity Mechanisms

  • Caveats in Nanotoxicology Assays

  • Safety Considerations in Nanomaterial Design

  • Case Study: Designing Safer Sunscreens

  • Mammalian Toxicology

    • Introduction

    • Concepts of Nanotoxicology

    • Dosemetrics

    • Portals of Entry

    • Dosing of the Respiratory Tract

    • Respiratory Tract Deposition

    • Respiratory Tract Clearance and Disposition of NP: Nanomaterials

    • Nanomaterials and the Brain

    • Elimination of Nanomaterials

  • Case Study: MWCNTs

    • Bolus-type Exposures

    • Inhalation Studies

    • Critical Appraisal of CNT

      • In Vivo Studies

      • Biological Degradation of Carbon Nanomaterials

  • Toxicity Testing

    • In Vitro Dosimetry

    • Predictive Toxicology

    • Transition, Human— Eco-nanotoxicology

  • Ecotoxicology of ENMS

    • Environmental Uses and Exposures to Nanomaterials

    • Ecological Risk Assessment of Manufactured Nanomaterials

    • Toxicity of Manufactured Nanomaterials

      • Complications of Assays

    • Ecotoxicity of Nanomaterials

    • Mechanisms of Toxicity


Since the classic talk by Richard Feynman (1959) entitled “There Is Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” nanotechnology has grown to a multibillion dollar industry worldwide, with 1300 nanotechnology-enabled products in commercial use by 2010 (Woodrow Wilson Center, 2012). The potential of adverse effects from exposure to “nanophase materials” was already pointed out earlier (Oberdörster and Ferin, 1992; Oberdörster et al., 1992), and concerns about human and environmental health and safety of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) were initially raised in 2003 (Colvin, 2003). Since then, toxicity of high volume, commercial nanomaterials including nanosilver, fullerenes, quantum dots, carbon nanotubes (CNTs), and metal oxide nanoparticles (NPs) have been summarized in several reviews (Borm et al., 2006; Nel et al., 2006; Donaldson et al., 2004; Boczkowski and Hoet, 2009; Krug and Wick, 2011; Kunzmann et al., 2011). New ENMs and composites are continually emerging with potential for significant commercial applications in energy generation, environmental sensing and remediation, aerospace and defense, and medical diagnosis and therapy. Examples of nanoscale materials of different shapes and sizes are depicted in Fig. 28-1. Investigation of the magnitude of release of manufactured nanomaterials and their subsequent fate, transport, transformation, and potential for human and environmental exposure and toxicity (Fig. 28-2) is an urgent priority (Mueller and Nowack, 2008).

Figure 28-1.

Length scales for natural and synthetic structures (above) and some examples of engineered nanomaterials of varying size and shape (below).

Figure 28-2.

Research phases for assessing human and environmental safety of engineered nanomaterials.

The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI, defines nanotechnology as the understanding and control of matter at the nanoscale at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nm, where unique phenomena enable novel applications. Roco (2005) defined the sizes as ranging from the intermediate length scale between a single atom or molecule and ...

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.