CPSC study: Release of Silver from Nanotechnology-Based Consumer Products for Children

Subject Area:
Non-NNI Other Reports
EHS-related Documents
Author: Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
Publication Date: Jul. 3 2013

Description:

Abstract: We assessed the potential for children’s exposure to bioavailable silver during the realistic use of selected nanotechnology-based consumer products (plush toy, fabric products, breast milk storage bags, sippy cups, cleaning products, humidifiers, and humidifier accessory). We measured the release of ionic and particulate silver from products into water, orange juice, milk formula, synthetic saliva, sweat, and urine (1:50 product to liquid mass ratio); into air; and onto dermal wipes. Of the liquid media, sweat and urine yielded the highest amount of silver release, up to 38% of the silver mass in products; tap water yielded the lowest amount, ≤1.5%. Leaching from a blanket into sweat plateaued within 5 min, with less silver released after washing. Between 0.3 and 23 μg m–2 of silver transferred from products to wipes. Aerosol concentrations were not significantly elevated during product use. Fabrics, a plush toy, and cleaning products were most likely to release silver. Silver leached mainly via dissolution and was facilitated in media with high salt concentrations. Levels of silver to which children may potentially be exposed during the normal use of these consumer products is predicted to be low, and bioavailable silver is expected to be in ionic rather than particulate form.


Nanotechnology Fact

Although federally-funded R&D yields hard-to-quantify benefits such as students educated, degrees conferred, companies started, patents and copyrights granted, developmental partnerships formed, and private sector investment inflows, there are many indicators of the impact of this ­­­­­investment.

For example, there are over 1,900 U.S.-based companies conducting R&D, manufacturing, or product sales in nanotechnology in 2016. Of these companies engaged in the nanotechnology sector, over 36% have participated in the Small Business Innovation Research or Small Business Technology Transfer programs funded by the Federal agencies that participate in the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The most recent Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS) conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) found approximately 1,500 companies engaged in nanotechnology with approximately 1,100 of these classified as small businesses (less than 500 employees). The difference in the number of companies cited above can be attributed to the year the data was collected and other methodologies.

A noteworthy impact of the NNI has been the focused investment by NNI-participating agencies in the establishment and development of multidisciplinary research and education centers devoted to nanoscience and nanotechnology. NNI agencies have developed an extensive infrastructure of nearly 100 major interdisciplinary research and education centers and user facilities across the United States. This cutting-edge fabrication and characterization equipment provides state-of-the-art nanoscience tools and expertise for research by non-profit or business organizations, whether small or large, for use-inspired research and some of the user facilities are available free-of-charge for non-proprietary work if the user intends to publish the research results in the scientific literature.

In December 2015, Lux Research estimated that nanotechnology-enabled products generated $1.6 trillion in global revenues in 2014; and that figure is anticipated to increase to $3.5 trillion in 2018.

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