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June 17, 2010

Germany’s BfR Recommends Manufacturers Not Use Nanoscale Silver Ions in Consumer Products

Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 10, 2010, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) issued a press release entitled “Nanosilver has no place in food, textiles or cosmetics,” which states “BfR currently advises against using nanoscale silver ions in consumer products.” According to BfR, manufacturers of consumer products “have made use of the antimicrobial properties of silver ions for some time now,” and “silver particles in the nanorange have likewise been used.” BfR states: “It is not possible at the present time to determine in a definitive manner whether nanosilver constitutes a health risk for consumers,” and “we recommend that manufacturers refrain from using nanosilver in consumer products.” The press release states:

BfR feels there is a need for research to elucidate the fundamental issues in conjunction with the use of nanoscale silver as an antimicrobial material. On what scale do consumers come into contact with nanoscale particles? How big is the danger of resistance development?

BfR recommends refraining from using any nanoscale silver in consumer products until a definitive safety assessment becomes available. In any case nanoscale additives in food require approval. Nanosilver has not been approved for use in food. BfR welcomes this in the context of the yet to be answered questions about risk assessment.

BfR has published an Opinion on this subject.