Sicherheit von Nanosilber in Verbraucherprodukten: Viele Fragen sind noch offen
Silver and silver compounds release silver ions that can inhibit the growth of germs. For that reason they are used for instance in cosmetics, textiles and household appliances. Furthermore, silver is approved as a dye for food and in medical devices. Recently, the manufacturers of consumer products have been increasingly using silver in the form of nanoparticles, too. Since the properties of nanoparticles differ from those of larger particles of the same substance, nanoparticels are interesting for various applications. However, it has still to be ascertained whether their toxic properties change and they could become a health risk for consumers. Therefore, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommended to refrain from using any nanoscale silver in consumer products until a definitive safety assessment becomes available. Mainly industry objected to this assessment by BfR. For that reason BfR had organised a workshop in order to discuss existing risks and possible options for a compre-hensive consumer protection. The discussion confirmed the words of caution of BfR because the situation continues to be characterised by the fact that not enough secured scientific findings about the specific effects of nano-sized silver particles are available. BfR continues to advise against a broad use of nano silver in consumer products.