Advances in manufacturing and new applications have propelled the production and use of a wide variety of engineered nanomaterials (ENM) in all aspects of life, from textiles to paints, from batteries to electronics, from building materials to medicine. The widespread adoption of this class of materials stems from their unique properties compared to conventional materials that facilitate a number of desirable and beneficial effects, and they have become widely studied and increasingly well understood. On the other side of this spectrum, however, it is less certain how these materials behave once they enter the environment. ENM may be released into the environment at any point during the life-cycle of the ENM-containing material, through handling, deterioration, accidental release or disposal. ENM may be more or less toxic than conventional materials, they may be more or less mobile, and they may be more or less persistent. What is the fate of these ENM? What is their behavior once they get there? What effects can they cause to environmental ecosystems? What is their bioavailability? Do they change chemically or morphologically, stabilize or deteriorate over time? Does it depend where or how they are released?
The aim of this symposium is to bring together experts who addressing these uncertainties and developing the knowledge base for safe use of ENM. We invite submissions that promote discoveries at the intersection of geochemistry, materials science, ecology and environmental sciences to address these and more questions. We seek submissions that look not only at understanding how currently produced ENM nanomaterials behave in the environment (do they accumulate in sediment, remain suspend in water, or volatilize into the air), but also that are developing tools for predicting their behavior (e.g. fate descriptors) based on fundamental principles and material properties.