Potential environmental implications of nano-enabled medical applications: critical review

Indrani Mahapatra, Julian Clark, Peter J. Dobson, Richard Owen, Jamie R. Lead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
232 Downloads (Pure)


The application of nanotechnology and nanoscience for medical purposes is anticipated to make significant contributions to enhance human health in the coming decades. However, the possible future mass production and use of these medical innovations exhibiting novel and multifunctional properties will very likely lead to discharges into the environment giving rise to potentially new environmental hazards and risks. To date, the sources, the release form and environmental fate and exposure of nano-enabled medical products have not been investigated and little or no data exists, although there are a small number of currently approved medical applications and a number in clinical trials. This paper discusses the current technological and regulatory landscape and potential hazards and risks to the environment of nano-enabled medical products, data gaps and gives tentative suggestions relating to possible environmental hotspots.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-144
JournalEnvironmental Science Processes and Impacts
Issue number 1
Early online date11 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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