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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

South Carolina: Researcher Mohammed Baalousha Studies Nanoparticles Released into Environment by Sewage Spills

Sewage spills are a major source of releasing titanium dioxide engineered nanoparticles into the environment, according to recent research conducted at the South Carolina SmartState Center for Environmental Nanoscience and Risk (CENR). The study was led by Dr. Mohammed Baalousha, an associate professor of environmental nanoscience in the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health Department of Environmental Health Sciences, and published in Environmental Science: Nano as a cover article, demonstrating the study’s significance to the field as determined by the journal’s editors and reviewers.

A rapidly growing industry, nanotechnology boasts high production volumes of engineered materials and global markets worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles, for example, are the most widely produced and used type of engineered nanoparticles. However, the dominant use of titanium dioxide is as pigment in paint and coatings.

Scientists have developed hundreds of uses for engineered nanoparticles, including titanium dioxide applications such as cosmetics, toothpaste, sun blocks, and food additives — all of which are likely to end up in municipal wastewater. Despite advancements in understanding nanotechnology as a result of research by groups like CENR, measuring the amount of engineered particles in the environment poses challenges with regard to their detection and quantification.

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