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Mar 9 – 11, 2015
NH Laguna Palace Hotel
Europe/Rome timezone

Probabilistic modelling of prospective environmental concentrations of Gold nanoparticles from medical applications as a basis for risk assessment

Mar 11, 2015, 12:00 PM
Breakout 3 (NH Laguna Palace Hotel)

Breakout 3

NH Laguna Palace Hotel

Viale Ancona, n° 2 30172 Venice-Mestre, Italy Tel: +39 041 829 6111 Fax: +39 848 390 230
Parallel session 5C: Life cycle thinking & LCA 5C Life cycle thinking & LCA


Indrani Mahapatra (School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham)


Unique physical and chemical properties and ease of surface functionalisation of GNPs makes it attractive for widespread use in the medical field. GNPs can be used as imaging agents, targeted delivery of therapeutic agents, photodynamic and photothermal therapy, detection of biomarkers, immunoassays, antibacterial, etc. However, mass production and use might give rise to potentially new environmental hazards and risks in the future, as it has been found that GNPs may have toxic effects In this study, we (1) estimated the total consumption of GNPs used in medical applications for the UK and USA; (2) modelled the prospective GNPs flows along the product life cycles using established probabilistic material flow modelling approaches and predicted the environmental concentrations (Gottschalk et al. 2009); and (3) conducted an environment risk assessment (ERA) for aquatic and terrestrial compartments by comparing the prospective environmental concentrations with probabilistic species sensitivity distribution. Highest concentrations of GNPs were found in the sludge from Sewage Treatment Plants, for both countries, reaching 100 µg/kg. Results from the ERA for terrestrial and aquatic environments indicate that there is currently no risk from GNPs, although the scarcity of data at present means that the model should be re-run as data emerges.

Primary author

Indrani Mahapatra (School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham)


Jamie R. Lead (Environmental Nanoscience and Risk Centre, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina) Tianyin Sun (EMPA)

Presentation materials