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Environ Sci Technol. 2014 May 20;48(10):5726-36. doi: 10.1021/es500548h. Epub 2014 May 5.

Multimedia modeling of engineered nanoparticles with SimpleBox4nano: model definition and evaluation.

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Institute for Water and Wetland Research, Department of Environmental Science, Radboud University Nijmegen , P.O. Box 9010, NL-6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Screening level models for environmental assessment of engineered nanoparticles (ENP) are not generally available. Here, we present SimpleBox4Nano (SB4N) as the first model of this type, assess its validity, and evaluate it by comparisons with a known material flow model. SB4N expresses ENP transport and concentrations in and across air, rain, surface waters, soil, and sediment, accounting for nanospecific processes such as aggregation, attachment, and dissolution. The model solves simultaneous mass balance equations (MBE) using simple matrix algebra. The MBEs link all concentrations and transfer processes using first-order rate constants for all processes known to be relevant for ENPs. The first-order rate constants are obtained from the literature. The output of SB4N is mass concentrations of ENPs as free dispersive species, heteroaggregates with natural colloids, and larger natural particles in each compartment in time and at steady state. Known scenario studies for Switzerland were used to demonstrate the impact of the transport processes included in SB4N on the prediction of environmental concentrations. We argue that SB4N-predicted environmental concentrations are useful as background concentrations in environmental risk assessment.

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