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

Nanoscale materials have been used for over a thousand years. For example, nanoscale gold was used in stained glass in Medieval Europe and nanotubes were found in blades of swords made in Damascus. However, ten centuries passed before high-powered microscopes were invented, allowing us to see things at the nanoscale and begin working with these materials.

Nanotechnology as we now know it began more than 30 years ago, when tools to image and measure at the nanoscale became available. Around the turn of the century, government research managers in the United States and other countries observed that physicists, biologists, chemists, electrical engineers, optical engineers, and materials scientists were working on interconnected, multidisciplinary issues emerging at the nanoscale. In 2000, the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) was created to help these researchers benefit from each other’s insights, accelerate technology development, and foster commercialization across disciplines.

To learn more, see What is Nanotechnology?

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