Nano silver: extreme germ killer presents a growing threat to ...
The following comprehensive information on the impacts of NANO technology is a must read for anyone interested in trends in health and environment.
Our new report released today details the growing threat to public health posed by extreme germ killer nano silver, and exposing the huge number of consumer applications in which it is found.
Silver has long been known as a potent antibacterial agent. However its use has exploded in recent years, not only in medical applications, but in a huge number of consumer products, including children’s toys, babies’ bottles, cosmetics, textiles, cleaning agents, chopping boards, refrigerators and dishwashers, available in Australian shops.
Much of the silver used is in the form of nano silver, a tiny and especially potent form. Early studies suggest that not only could nano silver pose serious new health and environmental risks, its reckless widespread use could promote antibacterial resistance, undermining its efficacy in a medical context.
Over-use of this extreme germ killer poses a serious public health risk. It is unnecessary to coat cups, bowls and cutting boards, cosmetics, personal care products, children’s toys and infant products in nano silver for ‘hygienic’ reasons.
Indiscriminate use of biocidal silver in huge numbers of products is not only unnecessary, but may pose toxic risks. It could also promote dangerous anti-bacterial resistance to silver.
One of the main reasons nano silver is now used in wound dressings is because of the growing bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Already up to 110,000 deaths per year in the European Union can be attributed to bacterial infections”.
Widespread use of nano silver in consumer products could render it ineffective in a medical context.
Nano silver could also interfere with beneficial bacteria in waste water and sewage treatment. When water is increasingly becoming precious, especially in Australia, the release of biocidal silver from clothing, cosmetics and dishwashers into waste streams raises further concerns. Toxic nano silver may also contaminate waste intended for re-use.
Friends of the Earth calls for a immediate moratorium on the commercial release of products that contain manufactured nanosilver until nanotechnology-specific regulation is introduced to protect the public, workers and the environment from their risks, until all products are labelled, and until the public is involved in decision making.
The report is available for download here.
For comment contact: Dr. Rye Senjen 0431662124 or email her on firstname.lastname@example.org
Nanotechnology is being heralded as the basis of the next industrial revolution, yet, amidst the hype there are serious questions about the health, environmental and social impacts of this powerful new technology. The FoE nano project aims to catalyse debate on what is set to be one of the defining issues of our time.
In our new report on nano-silver, Friends of the Earth warned that not only could nano-silver's use in food packaging, cutlery, cosmetics, household appliances, clothing and countless other products pose new toxicity risks, it could also leave us vulnerable to the development of virulent new bacteria. In interviews with the ABC last week, the president of the Australian Society for Microbiology, Professor Hatch Stokes, and microbiologist Professor Peter Collignon of Canberra Hospital agreed with FoE that widespread use of antibacterial nano-silver could result in dangerous bacterial resistance. They warned that "needless" use of nano-silver in everyday consumer products could render it ineffective in a medical setting where it is actually useful.
This article is reprinted from New Matilda 22.06.09
"Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has described Bernie Banton as a “great Australian hero” for his tireless campaigning for justice for asbestos victims. But despite serious warnings from scientists and risk assessors that carbon nanotubes could pose similar risks to asbestos, the Rudd government is refusing to bring in new regulations to ensure we don’t repeat the asbestos tragedy.
High-level experts have told a meeting of European and US consumer groups that commercial use of nanomaterials is going "underground", with companies increasingly reluctant to disclose their use of nanotechnology. Euractive.com, an EU policy news service, reports that: "Finding reliable information about products on the European market which currently contain nanomaterials is becoming increasingly difficult, according to high-level experts addressing a meeting of consumer groups from the EU and US."
In a new story on The 7.30 Report, nanotoxicologist Assoc Professor Paul Wright (director of the Nanoafe Australia research network) and Assoc Professor Tom Faunce (medicine and law at the Australian National University) have backed calls from the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) for mandatory labelling and regulation of carbon nanotubes by the end of the year. Despite growing evidence that carbon nanotubes could cause asbestos-like health harm (click here for a FoEA review), governments have so far ignored calls from the unions, FoEA and others for precautionary management. Workers have no way to know whether or not they are exposed to carbon nanotubes in their workplace, a situation the ACTU warns could be setting us up for a repeat of the asbestos tragedy.
We now know that both titanium dioxide nanoparticles (used in sunscreens, cosmetics, food packaging, paints, clothing and more) and carbon fullerenes (used in high end anti-ageing creams and mooted for use in medicines, solar cells and superconductors) can be passed from pregnant mice to their offspring, with consequent harm to health (see here and here). Now a startling new study has shown that rice plants exposed to carbon fullerenes also transmit these nanomaterials to the next generation. Exposure to both carbon fullerenes and carbon nanotubes also delays the onset of rice flowering by at least 1 month and reduces seed set.
The June Newsletter of the Innovation Society (St Gallen, Switzerland, suggests that a series of legislative amendments adopted by the European Parliament over the past two months "might herald a change of paradigm for nanotechnology regulation in Europe, from a rather reluctant government position toward a more explicit approach on manufactured nanomaterials". The item is copied below, and the original can be viewed on the Innovation Society's website.
We hear lots of predictions that nanotechnology could drive the 'next industrial revolution', or 'transform every aspect of our lives'. We hear less discussion about whether or not we should take such predictions seriously, or what social consequences they might bring. In a chapter published in the 2008 "Yearbook of Nanotechnology in Society", FoEA's Georgia Miller explores some of the potential social implications of a nanotechnology 'revolution', asks what we can learn from the last industrial revolution, and looks at what's driving nanotechnology development today. She suggests that despite proponents' claims that nanotechnology will deliver key social and environmental benefits, research spending and products released so far demonstrate the primacy of the profit motive in guiding nanotechnology development. Georgia argues that the most important challenge, given a nanotechnology 'revolution' being driven by public money, is to democratise its development.