Silver nanoparticles lost in the first wash

An Environmental Science: Nano article highlighted in Chemistry World by Florence Greatrix

Scientists in Switzerland have discovered that more silver nanoparticles in clothing are released the first time they are washed than when they are sent to landfill.

Manufacturers add nanosilver to textiles to kill odour-causing bacteria © Shutterstock

Nanosilver’s antimicrobial properties often see it added to textiles, including socks and sportswear. Making, washing and disposing of the clothing can release the silver into the environment. Despite posing a low risk to humans, silver ions are toxic to many aquatic organisms and can accumulate in the food chain.

Commenting on the work, Amro El Badawy, an environmental engineer at California Polytechnic University, US, says:  ‘Deciphering the mechanisms of transformations of nanomaterials under the experimental conditions is key to our ability to predict any environmental implications – this work gets us closer to achieving this goal.’

Read the full ChemistryWorld article here.

Durability of nano-enhanced textiles through the life cycle: releases from landfilling after washing*
Denise M Mitrano, Pawena Limpiteeprakan, Sandhya Babel and Bernd Nowack
Environ. Sci.: Nano
, 2016, Accepted Manuscript

*Access is free through a registered RSC account until 11 May 2016 – click here to register

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