Report

Silver Nanotechnologies and the Environment: Old Problems or New Challenges?

  • September 09, 2008
  • By Samuel N. Luoma

Nanomaterials with silver as an ingredient raise new challenges for environmental managers. Potentially great benefits are accompanied by a potential for environmental risks, posed both by the physical and chemical traits of the materials. We need not assume that because nano is new, we have no scientific basis for managing risks, however. Our existing knowledge of silver in the environment provides a starting point for some assessments, and points toward some of the new questions raised by the unique properties of nanoparticles. Starting from what we know about silver itself, this report identifies 12 lessons for managing environmental risks from nanosilver. These lessons help set the stage for both the research strategy and the risk management strategy.

Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies on PewHealth.org.