[NetBehaviour] As nanotech goes mainstream, 'toxic socks' raise concerns.

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Wed Apr 16 00:06:08 CEST 2008

As nanotech goes mainstream, 'toxic socks' raise concerns.

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 machines. But as silver's benefits propel it to 
the forefront of consumer nanomaterials, scientists are recommending a 
closer examination of the unforeseen environmental and health 
consequences of nanosilver.

"The general public needs to be aware that there are unknown risks 
associated with the products they buy containing nanomaterials," 
researchers Paul Westerhoff and Troy M. Benn said in a report scheduled 
for the 235th national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

Westerhoff and Benn report that ordinary laundering can wash off 
substantial amounts of the nanosilver particles from socks impregnated 
with the material. The Arizona State researchers suggest that the 
particles, intended to prevent foot odor, could travel through a 
wastewater treatment system and enter natural waterways where they might 
have unwanted effects on aquatic organisms living in the water and 
possibly humans, too.

"This is the first report of anyone looking at the release of silver 
from this type of manufactured clothing product," said the authors.


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