NanoRelease Consumer Products: Developing consensus measurement approaches for the analysis of release materials from nanocomposites
Keana C. Scott, Frederick Meisenkothen
The number of consumer and industrial products that are nano-enabled and/or nano-enhanced has been increasing rapidly in recent years. The nano-composite materials offer an exciting mix of material properties that cannot be achieved in conventional composite materials. However, from a health and environmental safety perspective, these nano-composite materials are also of growing concern, because of the possible release of the constituent nanomaterials during product lifecycles or foreseeable misuse. One of the most widely used filler materials in nanocomposites is multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). The possible release of MWCNTs, especially free MWCNTs, is worrisome because MWCNTs share a similar morphology and pathogenicity with asbestos fibers [2,3]. Further, MWCNTs are known to produce adverse health effects, even in low exposure scenarios . Although there have been several studies that evaluated the release of MWCNTs from nanocomposite materials, it has been difficult to perform a robust risk analysis based on these studies because of the variability in experimental conditions, i.e. the release mechanism, the environmental conditions, the analytical methods, and the materials used (polymer type, MWCNT loading, composite formulation, etc.). To facilitate the development of a consensus measurement approach for analyzing the release of nanomaterials from polymer nanocomposite products, an international multi-stakeholder collaborative project, NanoRelease Consumer Products: Method Development, was initiated in 2013. The MWCNT associated release measurement studies employed two different wear mechanisms for release, weathering and abrasion. We will share some of the challenges that the project has faced in coordinating this large private- public collaborative effort and present the preliminary findings from the abrasion study.