Ecotoxicity of nanomaterials used for remediation
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Remediation using nanoparticles depends on proper documentation of safety aspects, one of which is their ecotoxicology. Ecotoxicology of nanoparticles has some special features: while traditional ecotoxicology aims at measuring possible negative effects of more or less soluble chemicals or dissolved elements, nanoecotoxicology aims at measuring the toxicity of particles, and its main focus is on effects that are unique to nano-sized particles, as compared to larger particles or solutes. One of the main challenges when testing the ecotoxicity of nanoparticles lies in maintaining stable and reproducible exposure conditions, and adapt these to selected test organisms and endpoints. Another challenge is to use test media that are relevant to the matrices to be treated. Testing of nanoparticles used for remediation, particularly red-ox-active Fe-based nanoparticles, should also make sure to exclude confounding effects of altered red-ox potential which are not nanoparticle-specific. Yet another unique aspect of nanoparticles used for remediation is considerations of ageing of nanoparticles in soil or water, leading to reduced toxicity over field-relevant time scales. This review discusses these and other aspects of how to design and interpret appropriate tests and use these in hazard descriptions for subsequent risk assessments.