Natural, incidental, and engineered nanomaterials and their impacts on the Earth system

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Science  29 Mar 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6434, eaau8299
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau8299

Nanomaterials in the Earth system

Nanomaterials have been part of the Earth system for billions of years, but human activities are changing the nature and amounts of these materials. Hochella Jr. et al. review sources and impacts of natural nanomaterials, which are not created directly through human actions; incidental nanomaterials, which form unintentionally during human activities; and engineered nanomaterials, which are created for specific applications. Knowledge of the properties of all three types as they cycle through the Earth system is essential for understanding and mitigating their long-term impacts on the environment and human health.

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