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Challenges associated with performing environmental research on titanium dioxide nanoparticles in aquatic environments
Wang, H., K. Ho, F. Wu, AND R. Burgess. Challenges associated with performing environmental research on titanium dioxide nanoparticles in aquatic environments. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, KS, 14(2):298-300, (2018).
This brief viewpoint article discusses areas of research needed to better understand the fate and effects of the nanomaterial titanium dioxide in aquatic systems. Currently, there are limited methods for distinguishing naturally-occurring titanium from anthropogenic/engineered titanium. In addition, titanium occurs at very high levels in the environment. Progress in this area is likely to benefit other nanomaterials that share titanium's characteristics (e.g., silicas).
There are challenges associated with performing research on titanium dioxide NPs in aquatic environments particularly marine systems. A critical focus for current titanium dioxide NP research in aquatic environments needs to be on optimizing methods for differentiating naturally-occurring and engineered forms. Once these methods are available, the uncertainty associated with titanium dioxide NP studies can be reduced and better decisions about how to use and regulate this nanomaterial can be implemented. In principal, the approaches used to distinguish the types of titanium in natural environments will be beneficial to working with other challenging nanomaterials.