Author(s): Mitrano DM, Rimmele E, Wichser A, Erni R, Height M, , Mitrano DM, Rimmele E, Wichser A, Erni R, Height M,
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Abstract Questions about how to regulate nanoenhanced products regularly arise as researchers determine possible nanoparticle transformation(s). Focusing concern on the incorporation and subsequent release of nano-Ag in fabrics often overshadows the fact that many "conventional silver" antimicrobials such as ionic silver, AgCl, metallic Ag, and other forms will also form different species of silver. In this study we used a laboratory washing machine to simulate the household laundering of a number of textiles prepared with known conventional Ag or nano-Ag treatments and a commercially available fabric incorporating yarns coated with bulk metallic Ag. Serial filtration allowed for quantification of total Ag released in various size fractions (>0.45 μm, < 0.45 μm, <0.1 μm, and <10 kDa), while characterization of particles with TEM/EDX provided insight on Ag transformation mechanisms. Most conventional Ag additives yielded more total Ag and more nanoparticulate-sized Ag in the washing liquid than fabrics that used nano-Ag treatments. Incorporating nano-silver into the fiber (as opposed to surface treatments) yielded less total Ag during fabric washing. A variety of metallic Ag, AgCl, and Ag/S particles were observed in washing solution by TEM/EDX to various extents depending on the initial Ag speciation in the fabrics. Very similar particles were also observed when dissolved ionic Ag was added directly into the washing liquid. On the basis of the present study, we can state that all silver-treated textiles, regardless of whether the treatment is "conventional" or "nano", can be a source of silver nanoparticles in washing solution when laundering fabrics. Indeed, in this study we observed that textiles treated with "conventional" silver have equal or greater propensity to form nano-silver particles during washing conditions than those treated with "nano"-silver. This fact needs to be strongly considered when addressing the risks of nano-silver and emphasizes that regulatory assessment of nano-silver warrants a similar approach to conventional silver.
This article was published in ACS Nano
and referenced in Journal of Civil & Environmental Engineering