05/02/2008 - A coalition of consumer protection groups yesterday filed a legal petition with the Environmental Protection Agency seeking to halt the sale of consumer products containing microscopic nanoparticles of silver, an increasingly popular germ-killer that has raised environmental concerns.
More than 200 products -- including odor-resistant socks, baby bottles and clothes-washing machines -- are laced with specks of nanosilver, part of a larger nanotechnology revolution fueled by the novel chemical properties substances gain when honed to a few billionths of a meter.
There is disagreement about how, exactly, nanosilver should be regulated, said Andrew Maynard, chief science adviser for the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, set up by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the Pew Charitable Trusts. "But the petition raises a number of very valid points that have got to be taken seriously," he said. "Nanosilver and its use as a pesticide has got to be better regulated. It seems to be slipping under the radar."
View Groups Petition EPA to Ban Nanosilver in Consumer Goods on The Washington Post's site.
Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies on PewHealth.org.