HOT article: the silver standard – challenges in characterising the environmental impact of silver nanomaterials

This HOT article reports a collaborative effort between the US Environmental Protection Agency and National Institute of Standards and Technology to facilitate intercomparison of sometimes conflicting environmental risk experiment results for silver nanoparticles.

Silver nanoparticles have become the most widely used of all nanoparticles reported in consumer products due to their well known antibacterial and antifungal properties, but with increased use comes increased concern – do they pose a health and safety or environmental risk?  There is a huge amount of literature data available on silver nanoparticles, but as there is no standard procedure for their manufacture, stabilization, or initial characterization it can be difficult for regulatory authorities to make comparisons between different datasets and thus draw meaningful conclusions.

Here, Robert MacCuspie and Kim Rogers et al. have analysed a range of silver nanoparticle materials with different analytical methods and initial dispersion conditions to demonstrate how measurement methods, agglomeration state and dispersion conditions influence the reported size distributions of said materials.  They also present an approach to developing routine screening for the nanomaterials.

This HOT article is part of our forthcoming themed issue on Environmental Nanotechnology and is free to access for 4 weeks.

Challenges for physical characterization of silver nanoparticles under pristine and environmentally relevant conditions
Robert I. MacCuspie, Kim Rogers, Manomita Patra, Zhiyong Suo, Andrew J. Allen, Matthew N. Martin and Vincent A. Hackley
J. Environ. Monit., 2011, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C1EM10024F, Paper

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