Knocking nanoparticles off the socks

Oct 28, 2009
In a finding with important environmental implications, scientists are reporting how silver nanoparticles used in anti-odor socks come off during laundering. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Scientists in Switzerland are reporting results of one of the first studies on the release of silver nanoparticles from laundering those anti-odor, anti-bacterial socks now on the market. Their findings, scheduled for the Nov. 1 issue of ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology, may suggest ways that manufacturers and consumers can minimize the release of these particles to the environment, where they could harm fish and other wildlife.

In the study, Bernd Nowack and colleagues note that widespread use of in consumer products, especially textiles, likely results in the distribution of nanoparticles in lakes and streams. Manufacturers favor silver nanoparticles because of their antibacterial action, which slows the growth of odor-causing bacteria. The scientists studied release of in laundry water from nine different textiles, including different brands of commercially available anti-odor socks. Previous studies laundered socks, but in pure distilled water.

They found that most of the released particles were relatively large and that most came out of the fabrics during the first wash. The total released varied from 1.3 to 35 percent of the total nanosilver in the fabric. Bleach generally did not affect the amount released. "These results have important implications for the risk assessment of silver and also for environmental fate studies of nanosilver, because they show that under certain conditions relevant to washing, primarily coarse silver-containing particles are released," the paper says.

More information: "The Behavior of Silver Nanotextiles During Washing", Environmental Science & Technology, pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/p… ll/10.1021/es9018332

Source: American Chemical Society (news : web)

Explore further: 'Human touch' nanoparticle sensor could improve breast cancer detection

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

As nanotech goes mainstream, 'toxic socks' raise concerns

Apr 07, 2008

Nanotechnology is now available in a store near you. Valued for it’s antibacterial and odor-fighting properties, nanoparticle silver is becoming the star attraction in a range of products from socks to bandages ...

Too much nanotechnology may be killing beneficial bacteria

Apr 29, 2008

Too much of a good thing could be harmful to the environment. For years, scientists have known about silver’s ability to kill harmful bacteria and, recently, have used this knowledge to create consumer products containing ...

Nanoscale silver: No silver lining?

Sep 09, 2008

Widespread use of nanoscale silver will challenge regulatory agencies to balance important potential benefits against the possibility of significant environmental risk, highlighting the need to identify research priorities ...

Recommended for you

'Small' transformation yields big changes

Sep 15, 2014

An interdisciplinary team of researchers led by Northeastern University has developed a novel method for controllably constructing precise inter-nanotube junctions and a variety of nanocarbon structures in ...

Study sheds new light on why batteries go bad

Sep 14, 2014

A comprehensive look at how tiny particles in a lithium ion battery electrode behave shows that rapid-charging the battery and using it to do high-power, rapidly draining work may not be as damaging as researchers ...

Moving silicon atoms in graphene with atomic precision

Sep 12, 2014

Richard Feynman famously posed the question in 1959: is it possible to see and manipulate individual atoms in materials? For a time his vision seemed more science fiction than science, but starting with groundbreaking ...

User comments : 0