Posted by: A. C. Cockerill | September 30, 2011

Factoid #16: Nanosilver

Factoid #16:

Nanosilver is a powder of silver nanoparticles (atomic and small molecular scale, a nanometer = one billionth of a meter). In small quantities, this powder is fairly non-toxic to humans, but deadly to germs, so both the medical benefits and potential environmental impacts are being examined. Nanosilver applications include anti-microbial coatings, even for socks.



  1. Interesting info, especially for a science fiction writer! Thanks for sharing!

    • You’re very welcome, Jennette. I suspect you’ve already found the earlier Factoid posts, but if not, be sure to check them out. I’m guessing you’ll like them. Cheers, Ashley

  2. In small quantities it’s fairly non toxic? How small and fairly are you talking here? Jeepers. Can it be stored and build up in the body?

    • Hi Donna,

      Researchers are proactively and aggressively examining the toxic effects for all nanotechnologies. The scientists and engineers I’ve met are obsessive about making sure these exciting, new technologies are thoroughly understood–before products are manufactured and sold to the public. Safety procedures and protections will be generated as part of the development process.

      I don’t know the specifics for nanosilver, but the last risk assessment report I saw for nanotechnologies in general placed the risks at about the same level as for semiconductors and medicine. Everyone safely uses computer chips in their homes, but they’d be amazed at the list of chemicals used to make those chips.

      It’s important to be cautious, to treat all nanotechnologies with respect. But the miraculous benefits are expected to far outweigh the risks.

      Cheers, Ashley

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