Knocking nanoparticles off the socks

October 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: As nanotech goes mainstream, 'toxic socks' raise concerns

Related Stories

As nanotech goes mainstream, 'toxic socks' raise concerns

April 7, 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 to washing ...

Too much nanotechnology may be killing beneficial bacteria

April 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?

September 9, 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

Quantum dot ring lasers emit colored light

January 22, 2018

Researchers have designed a new type of laser called a quantum dot ring laser that emits red, orange, and green light. The different colors are emitted from different parts of the quantum dot—red from the core, green from ...

Fast computer control for molecular machines

January 19, 2018

Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed a novel electric propulsion technology for nanorobots. It allows molecular machines to move a hundred thousand times faster than with the biochemical processes ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.