Nanomaterials in the construction industry: A review of their applications and environmental health and safety considerations

Jaesang Lee, Shaily Mahendra, Pedro J.J. Alvarez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

549 Citations (Scopus)


The extraordinary chemical and physical properties of materials at the nanometer scale enable novel applications ranging from structural strength enhancement and energy conservation to antimicrobial properties and self-cleaning surfaces. Consequently, manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs) and nanocomposites are being considered for various uses in the construction and related infrastructure industries. To achieve environmentally responsible nanotechnology in construction, it is important to consider the lifecycle impacts of MNMs on the health of construction workers and dwellers, as well as unintended environmental effects at all stages of manufacturing, construction, use, demolition, and disposal. Here, we review state-of-the-art applications of MNMs that improve conventional construction materials, suggest likely environmental release scenarios, and summarize potential adverse biological and toxicological effects and their mitigation. Aligned with multidisciplinary assessment of the environmental implications of emerging technologies, this review seeks to promote awareness of potential benefits of MNMs in construction and stimulate the development of guidelines to regulate their use and disposal to mitigate potential adverse effects on human and environmental health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3580-3590
Number of pages11
JournalACS nano
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jul 27
Externally publishedYes


  • bioavailability
  • concrete
  • exposure
  • industrial ecology
  • labeling
  • oxidative stress
  • risk assessment
  • sensor
  • toxicity
  • windows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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