For Immediate Release
Nick Berning, 202-222-0748
Ian Illuminato, 250-478-7135
Nano-Silver: Extreme Germ Killer Presents Growing Threat to Public Health
New report from Friends of the Earth sheds light on risks from popular products containing nano-silver particles
WASHINGTON - Friends of the Earth and Health Care Without Harm Europe released a report today detailing the growing public health threat posed by nano-silver particles in consumer products.
"What we've learned is alarming," said Friends of the Earth's Ian
Illuminato, one of the report's authors. "Major corporations are
putting nano-silver into a wide variety of consumer products with
virtually no oversight, and there are potentially serious health
consequences as a result. The workers who manufacture these products,
the families that use them, and the environment are all at risk."
Silver has long been known to be a potent antimicrobial agent.
However, its use has exploded in recent years, in medical applications
and also in many consumer products, including children's toys, babies'
bottles, cosmetics, textiles, cleaning agents, chopping boards,
refrigerators and dishwashers.
Much of the silver used in these products today is manufactured at
the nano-scale, meaning it is present in extremely tiny particles that
behave differently than larger particles and are especially potent.
Studies suggest that the widespread use of nano-silver poses serious
health and environmental risks and that it could promote anti-bacterial
resistance, undermining its efficacy in a medical context.
"Inserting nano-silver into hundreds of new products could harm our
bodies and the outdoor environments into which it's released," said
Illuminato. "Nano-silver doesn't distinguish between good and bad
bacteria-it kills all bacteria with which it interacts, many of which
are necessary for our survival and the survival of other living
"Do we really need to coat cups, bowls and cutting boards, personal
care products, children's toys and infant products in nano-silver for
‘hygienic' reasons?" asked report co-author Dr. Rye Senjen, Friends of
the Earth Australia's nanotechnology expert. "Over-use of this extreme
germ killer poses a serious public health risk."
"We are playing with fire, especially at a time when anti-bacterial
resistance is an ever increasing medical problem globally," Dr. Senjen
The report also warns that nano-silver may leach out of products
such as clothing, cosmetics, and washing machines and find its way into
water systems and potentially interfere with the treatment of waste
water and sewage.
Friends of the Earth is calling for an immediate moratorium on the
commercial release of products that contain manufactured nano-silver
until nanotechnology-specific regulation is put in place to protect the
public, workers and the environment, until all products containing
nano-silver are labeled as such, and until the public is involved in
decision making about the use of this particle.
The report released today can be found at http://www.foe.org/sites/default/files/Nano-silverReport_US.pdf.
A petition Friends of the Earth and allied groups sent to the U.S. EPA calling for regulation of nano-silver can be found here: www.foe.org/healthy-people/nanosilver
Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.