The increasing use of silver nanoparticles (Ag-NP) in consumer products raises the issue of its dispersion in the environment and specifically in water. Due to its biocidal properties nanosilver may be considered a harmful substance. A recent study from Switzerland has however concluded otherwise.

Researchers from the National Research Programme Opportunities and Risks of Nanomaterials (NRP 64) of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) investigated the behaviour of silver nanoparticles in water. Water Research recently published their results in the article Fate and transformation of silver nanoparticles in urban wastewater systems.

The team ‘conducted experiments addressing the behaviour of Ag-NP in sewers and in wastewater treatment plants (WWTP)’ and the study concluded that silver nanoparticles are barely present in water as they are transformed into benign substances and are retained in the sewer sludge.

In urban sewers, nanosilver rapidly gets ‘sulfidized’ as it becomes silver sulfide salt. In the end less than 5% of the released nanosilver is believed to still be present in the water, a percentage that could easily be reduced with ‘reasonable effort’ for more efficient wastewater treatment techniques.

 

Follow this link for the scientific article in Water Research (subscribers-only).

Source: NanoWerk News



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