Nanoparticles pose little or no risk to human health or ecosystems, finds research

Published: 4-Feb-2014

Hohenstein Institute releases results of long term nanoparticle study

The Hohenstein Institute has concluded that nanoparticles pose little or no risk to human health or ecosystems, following two three-year nanotoxicity studies conducted with multiple organisations, which aimed to understand and quantify the safety of nanoparticles for both people and the environment.

Hohenstein scientists, Jan Beringer and Timo Hammer, presented key study findings related to textile products in a webinar entitled: 'Nanotechnology: Human Health and the Environment'.

The German research institute played a key role in the TechnoTox project to assess risk to human health of nano-functionalised textiles including silver nanoparticle (Ag-NP) enhanced fabrics. For this project, it conducted a broad scale consumer wear test with Ag-NP enhanced antimicrobial clothing.The Hohenstein scientists determined that silver nanoparticles acted effectively upon bacteria introduced via perspiration but had no detrimental impact on the skin’s naturally occurring protective bacteria and caused no skin irritation. Additionally, the use of Ag-NP treated apparel did not build resistance in the undesirable bacteria.

Hohenstein’s proprietary cellular modelling technology also indicated that the inhalation, absorption, and ingestion of any silver nanoparticles released from the tested fabrics had no negative effect on human organ or tissue functions.

The institute studied the impact of processing Ag-NP enhanced fabrics on textile mill effluents and also measured the release of nanoparticles in home laundry simulations. The data were added to the larger UMSICHT study which found no significant risk of damage to aquatic ecosystems, sewage treatment plants, or landfill operations.

Hohenstein works closely with textile and apparel manufacturers to confirm that their specific nanoparticle-enhanced products work as designed and are safe to use. Certificates and Quality Labels are available and include Biological Safety, Antibacterial efficacy, Skin Flora Neutral, and Skin-Friendly. When performed during the product development phase, Hohenstein testing can confirm, correct, or enhance product performance and can provide objective data for fact-based marketing efforts.

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