Potential Release Scenarios for Carbon Nanotubes Used in Composites

Nowack B, David RM, Fissan H, Morris H, Shatkin JA, Stintz M, Zepp R, Brouwer D
Environment International
May 23, 2013

Environment International. 2013;59:1-1

The expected widespread use of carbon nanotube (CNT)-composites in consumer products calls for an assessment of the possible release and exposure to workers, consumers and the environment. Release of CNTs may occur at all steps in the life cycle of products, but to date only limited information is available about release of CNTs from actual products and articles. As a starting point for exposure assessment, exploring sources and pathways of release helps to identify relevant applications and situations where the environment and especially humans may encounter releases of CNTs. It is the aim of this review to identify various potential release scenarios for CNTs used in polymers and identify the greatest likelihood of release at the various stages throughout the life-cycle of the product. The available information on release of CNTs from products and articles is reviewed in a first part. In a second part nine relevant release scenarios are described in detail: injection molding, manufacturing, sports equipment, electronics, windmill blades, fuel system components, tires, textiles, incineration, and landfills. Release from products can potentially occur by two pathways; (a) where free CNTs are released directly, or more frequently (b) where the initial release is a particle with CNTs embedded in the matrix, potentially followed by the subsequent release of CNTs from the matrix. Click here for the full PDF.