Nanosilver Revisited Downstream

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Science  19 Nov 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6007, pp. 1054-1055
DOI: 10.1126/science.1198074

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Hundreds of consumer products are on the market that contain metallic silver nanoparticles. Given the potential toxicity of silver, these engineered nanoparticles are currently under intense scrutiny by environmental and occupational scientists (1) and regulators (2). The reason for this interest is that the physical and chemical properties of particles in the nanorange (from about 1 to 100 nm) can be different from larger particles or dissolved compounds, and it is not yet clear whether these different properties also require a new and more rigorous human and environmental risk assessment compared with their larger counterparts. In a recent article, Kim et al. (3) reported the discovery and identification of silver sulfide (Ag2S) nanoparticles in sewage sludge. This finding provides some insight into the fate of silver that had been introduced in various forms into the environment.