Report urges review of hazards of silver nanoparticles in consumer products

9 February 2010

The UK Advisory Committee on Hazardous Substances has produced  Report on Nanosilver, recommending that government bodies fund a thorough review of the hazards and exposure of silver nanoparticles as an immediate priority.

Nanosilver is used in a wide array of products, including cosmetics, fabrics, toothpaste, toothbrushes, kitchen surfaces, plasters and medical equipment. Little research has been conducted on its effect on humans, animals and the environment.

The report says that there are questions regarding bacterial silver resistance: "silver resistance, and possible increased antibiotic resistance due to nanosilver usage is an area of limited or no knowledge but has the potential to be deleterious to human health and should be investigated". It says that there are also "indications that toxicity is apparent in the nanosilver form and that there is a specific ‘nano-effect’" and that research is urgently needed.

It recommends 12 specific areas where funding councils should support research, including the products used, the main routes of exposure, the concentrations of nanosilver in the environment and how it changes once in the environment.

The report is available from the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs website:


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