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Silver Nanoparticles in Commercial Anti-odor Clothes: Effective or Not?

Apr 02, 2016 05:30 AM EDT

Anti-odor clothes with silver nanoparticles have been a great tool against the foul smell from the microbes from sweat, but many remain skeptic about their effectiveness and safety.

A new study, published in the ACS's journal Environmental Science and Technology, was conducted in hopes to test out the effectiveness of the silver nanoparticles in the anti-odor clothes and also study their potential environmental impact.

The research was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Silver compounds are known to be very effective antibacterial agents against both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.

According to Nanomedicine, silver nanoparticles are typically used in medicine for healing wounds. It demonstrated faster healing time compared to other silver compounds.

In the study, after washing the commercially available anti-odor clothes, researchers found out that a range of the silver nanoparticles attached to the fabrics was released.

Using the wastewater from the laundry, researchers then tested its environmental impact by using zebrafish embryos--a model animal used in toxicity studies.

The study revealed that the detergent used in washing has received a greater response from the zebrafish than the released silver nanoparticles.

In their press release, researchers noted that the anti-odor clothes retained its anti-microbial effect even with the low concentration of silver nanoparticles that remained after washing.

However, the study said that the remaining silver nanoparticles in the anti-odor clothes will leach out over time when the clothes are discarded in the landfills.

The researchers advised the manufacturers of the anti-odor clothes to keep the initial metal concentration in these products low. This will help reduce their environmental impact while still maintaining their ability to fight off microbes.

Besides from being used in textile and wound bandages, silver nanoparticles are also being used for food packaging.

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