Nanosilver has different effects than silver
The term nanoparticle is understood to refer to particles whose dimensions are less than 100 nm. Because of their minute size nanoparticles have different properties than those of larger particles of the same material. For example, for a given volume nanoparticles have a much greater surface area, so they are frequently much more reactive than the bulk material. In addition, even in small quantities nanosilver produces more silver ions than solid silver. These silver ions are toxic to bacteria. Whether or not nanosilver represents a risk to humans and the environment is currently the subject of a great deal of investigation.
120 Years of Nanosilver History: Implications for Policy Makers, Bernd Nowack, Harald F. Krug, Murray Height, Environ Sci Technol, 2011, DOI: 10.1021/es103316q
Nanosilver in wastewater treatment plants
Currently there are hundreds of products in circulation which contain silver nanoparticles. Examples include cosmetics, food packaging materials, disinfectants, cleaning agents and not least antibacterial socks and underwear. Every year some 320 tonnes of nanosilver are used worldwide, some of which is released into wastewater, thus finding its way into natural water recirculation systems. What effects solar particles have on rivers, soil and the organisms that live in them has not yet been clarified in detail. A commentary by Bernd Nowack in the scientific journal Science discusses the implications of the newest studies on nanosilver in sewage treatment plants. More than 90% remains bound in the sewage sludge in the form of silver sulfide, a substance which is extremely insoluble and orders of magnitude less poisonous than free silver ions. It apparently does not matter what the original form of the silver in the wastewater was, whether as meta
|Contact: Dr. Bernd Nowack|
Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA)