(462a) Nanomaterials: The Latest Emerging Environmental Contaminant Identification and Measurement | AIChE

(462a) Nanomaterials: The Latest Emerging Environmental Contaminant Identification and Measurement


Varner, K. - Presenter, US Environmental Protection Agency

Emerging contaminants is an area the U.S. EPA is trying to get a handle on to ensure that new products introduced for man’s benefit aren’t harmful to the environment. Nanomaterials falls within this category.  The unique characteristics of these materials makes them highly valuable for applications in commercial and medical products such as lotions and cosmetics. BUT where there is a benefit, a risk may also exist. Our goal is to develop novel monitoring/characterization methods for engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) with the initial focus on carbon-based nanomaterials (e.g. fullerenes, nanotubes) and metal nanoparticles (e.g. silver, gold) using electrochemical and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) analyses. Current research involves laboratory bench scale analysis.  We are determining methods that will be needed to collect, separate, detect, identify, and quantify the occurrence of these nanomaterials in the environment. Using a quartz crystal microbalance (QCM), we are able to measure fullerenes and nanosilver.  We are able to measure mass changes as well as the in-situ measurements of charge, current, potential and the resistance changes following the isolation of the particles to determine the presence of nanomaterials.  Frequency decrease or mass increase is used to measure the absorption of C60 fullerenes by the beta-cyclodextrin cavity attached on the QCM for this determination. Notice:  Although this work was reviewed by EPA and approved for publication, it may not necessarily reflect official Agency policy.