Following the opinion published by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), entitled Safety of nano silver in consumer products: many questions remain open (in English) the nanosilver debate came to life again. On the 2 May 2011 the Silver Nanotechnology Working Group (SNWG) issued a reply to the scientific opinion published by the BfR on the 12 March 2011. The response was entitled SNWG comments on BfR & nanosilver.
The initial stages of the debate have been covered by the NIA articles BfR raises Doubt about the Use of nano-Silver in Consumer Products - "just in case" and Silver Nanotechnology - Round 2: SNWG comments on German BfR. ChemicalWatch has also responded by publishing the debate review in their European business briefing Issue 37 (page 14).
Key new contributions came from the Swedish Chemicals Agency (KEMI) recently, which is conducting an assessment of a number of silver-based biocidal substances including nano-silver:
- elemental silver
- silver chloride adsorbed into titanium dioxide
- silver nitrate
- silver sodium hydrogen zirconium phosphate
- silver zinc zeolite, which is notified as aluminium sodium silicate-silver zinc complex
- silver zeolite A
- silver phosphate glass, notified as silver-zinc-aluminium-boron-phosphate glass
- silver borosilicate glass
The KEMI study is still at initial stages and they "are currently not really able to tell if there is sufficient data to carry out a risk assessment on the nanoforms of silver. Data has been submitted following the usual data requirements for bulk substances. If these are really suitable for the nanoforms is currently under discussion".
Another key contribution was made by Dr Steffi Friedrichs, the Director General of the Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA), who stated that "[t]he characterisation, stability and homogeneity of nanosilver have been finalised under the OECD Sponsorship Programme on the safety testing of manufactured nanomaterials", but she adds that "the results for all 59 of the endpoints agreed under the [OECD Sponsorship] programme, including environmental fate and toxicology and mammalian toxicology, will take time to conduct and publish". The NIA is a leading coordinator of Public-Private-Partnerships under the OECD Sponsorship Programme.
"The work of the OECD and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre Nanomaterial-Series and Reference Nanomaterials Repository is important", says Dr Friedrichs, "because it will answer stakeholder questions in a globally co-ordinated fashion and provide reliable performance standards for the nanotechnology industries. The reference nanosilver material supplied, NM-300, is described as relevant for use in measurement and testing studies, such as for hazard identification, related to the safety of nanomaterials".
Follow this link to view the ChemicalWatch article.
News item was produced by NIA in association with BREC Solutions.