Why Trendy Nanosilver Products Are Hazardous to Your Health and the Environment

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You may not know exactly what nanosilver is, but you’ve definitely used it. In a way, nanosilver is like the Jetsons: it’s sort of futuristic, but has also been around for ages. And because nanosilver is both of those things, while we’ve come to accept it as part of our everyday lives, there are still a lot of new things we’re learning about it, for better and for worse. Before we get to what we don’t know about nanosilver, though, let’s start with some solid facts.

Nanosilver (or colloidal silver, as it’s otherwise known), is essentially extremely tiny particles of silver that have been suspended in liquid. How small exactly? For perspective, a strand of human hair is between 50,000 to 80,000 nanometers wide. A nanosilver particle is typically no bigger than 100 nanometers. Due to this, one of the most prized properties of nanosilver is its ability to be used as an antimicrobial agent.

The first time humans actually encountered nanosilver was way back in the late 1800s, when the particles were used to develop some of the first photographs. Not too long after that, once it was discovered that nanosilver had the ability to kill bacteria, we started employing it for a whole range of other uses, from swimming-pool algaecides in the 1950s, to drinking-water filters two decades later.

In more recent years,…

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