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Chemosphere. 2013 Jan;90(2):653-6. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2012.09.033. Epub 2012 Oct 16.

Silica nanoparticles capture atmospheric lead: implications in the treatment of environmental heavy metal pollution.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Modern Toxicology of Shenzhen, Shenzhen Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shenzhen, China.


Lead (Pb) contamination in the air is a severe global problem, most notably in China. Removal of Pb from polluted air remains a significant challenge. It is unclear what potential effects silica nanoparticles (SiNPs) exposure can have on atmospheric Pb. Here we first characterized the features of SiNPs by measuring the particle size, zeta potential and the specific surface area of SiO(2) particles using a Nicomp 380/ZLS submicron particle sizer, the Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) method and transmission electronic microscopy (TEM). We measured the content of the metal Pb adsorbed by SiNPs exposed to two Pb polluted electric battery plants using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). It is found that SiNPs exposed to two Pb polluted electric battery plants absorb more atmospheric Pb compared to either blank control or micro-sized SiO(2) particles in a time-dependent manner. This is the first study demonstrating that SiNPs exposure can absorb atmospheric Pb in the polluted environment. These novel findings indicate that SiNPs have potential to serve as a significant adsorbent of Pb from industrial pollution, implicating a potentially novel application of SiNPs in the treatment of environmental heavy metal pollution.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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