German agency warns against nanosilver in consumer products

11 June 2010 19:01  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Nanosilver may pose health risks and should not be used in consumer products, the president of Germany’s federal risk assessment and consumer protection agency said on Friday.

“Until we are in a position to reliably rule out potential health risks, we recommend that manufacturers refrain from using nanosilver in consumer products”, said Andreas Hensel, head of Berlin-based Bundesinstitut fur Risikobewertung (BfR).

It was not possible at the present time to determine in a definitive manner whether nanosilver constituted a health risk for consumers, he added.

Nanosilver, because of its antimicrobial properties, is a widely used nanomaterial. It has applications in consumer products, including household appliances, textiles, cosmetics and coatings, among others.

However, the agency felt there was a need for research on the use of nanoscale silver as an antimicrobial material. It added that nanosilver was not approved for use in food products.

Last December, Germany’s chemical producers trade group VCI rejected a call for a ban of consumer products containing nanosilver, saying that nanosilver, along with other nanomaterials, was safely regulated under existing laws.

The country’s federal environmental agency, the Umweltbundesamt (UBA), has called for a legislative framework, including a registration system for products containing nanomaterials.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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