Scientific Studies are Questioning the Effect of Nanosilver on Environment and Living Organisms

Published Date : Apr 05, 2016

Nanotechnology has been widely marketed as one of the most promising fields of technology of present times as it has the potential of producing products that will have applications in several industries from personal care, chemicals and materials, paints and coatings, cosmetics, and water disinfection. Nanotechnology has also been considered to be a field that will redefine growth dynamics of several end use industries and enable several products to be more effective than ever before.

Several nanomaterials are under the research and development phase while a number of nanomaterials have also found their way to actual use in a variety of products. One of such prominent nanomaterials that has been observing a huge rise in popularity over the past some years and is finding applications in a variety of products is nanosilver. Nanosilver is nothing but the nano-form of silver particles.

Silver, which has been extensively used as an antibiotic since ancient periods, shows remarkably unusual chemical, physical, and biological properties at nanoscale. Researchers have confirmed the superior physical and antibacterial properties of nanosilver and the material has seen a substantial rise in production and usage in a vast variety of commercial products over the past years.

In fact, nanosilver is currently the only nanomaterial that is being used in medicinal applications. Owing to the strong antibacterial properties of the material, it is used for coating a variety of textiles as well as certain medical implants. It is also used for treating wounds or as a contraceptive.

However, with the rising use of nanosilver across a variety of commercial products, the concern of release of the material in the environment and the potential of such a scenario being a threat for the health of the environment as well as all living creatures has surfaced. 

Several studies have shown that owing to the nanostructure of the material, it can penetrate living cells and cause damage to them. This potential toxicity of the material has prompted scientists to undertake an increased number of research studies aimed at unearthing the major positive and negative risks of including nanosilver across a larger set of applications.