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Nano-silver – a review of available data and knowledge gaps in human and environmental risk assessment

, , , , , , , , , , , , , & , MScshow all
Pages 109-138
Received 18 Jul 2008
Published online: 10 Jul 2009

Nano-silver is used in an increasing number of products. Some of the applications have resulted in the concern of governments and the public, since little is known about the potential risks of nano-silver. In this review, an inventory is made to identify knowledge gaps that have to be filled before risks for both man and the environment can be assessed as reliable as for ‘non-nanosized’ chemicals. It is hypothesized that the toxic effects of nano-silver are due to a combination of the specific properties of silver nanoparticles and the generation of ions from them. The main topic for future research is validation of our ‘0-hypothesis’ that toxic effects of nano-silver are proportional to the activity of free silver ions released by the nanoparticles. Furthermore, it must be determined whether – or to what extent – nano-silver particles will enter the body. The outcomes of these tests will determine the requirements for further toxicity testing.

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