FOCUS ON FACEMASKS / W.H.O. NOW RECOMMENDS CLOTH MASKS FOR ALL

SNS Blog Side June, 2020

NANO SILVER & ZINC IN COMMUNITY FACE MASKS:  DO WE NEED THAT?

 

During the past decade, nearly 500 products have come to market claiming to contain antimicrobial nanosilver of benefit to consumers.

The amount of silver nanoparticles required to kill bacteria is extremely small, making them cost efficient.  And USDA researchers have devleoped a process to create a silver-cotton nanocomposite fiber for use in applications.  But a minimum content is required to be effective and studies on whether bacterial protection transfers to viral infection are not definitive.  "Silver nanoparticles have mainly been studied for their antimicrobial potential against bacteria," one supplier of nano-silver-infused facemasks told SNS.

So what about when nanosilver is up close in a face mask--and widespread use congregates in the environment?  Have studies been conducted?  What most scientists agree on is that there is a knowledge gap.

In May  2019, long before SARS-CoV-2 got its name, a review of the toxicity of nanosized silver was published. The review cites "the ever-growing evidence of nanosilver toxicity to human and nature" and outlines the dose thresholds based on comprehensive data mining. 

The epidemic has created crises nationwide.  And lacking U.S. federal standards on the quality of cloths and materials used in making face masks, many are trying to help any way possible.  When it comes to nanosilver technology used in consumer face masks, it may be helpful to know the scientific knowledge gaps have not yet been closed.  

The good news?  Europe has provided a free reference guide standardizing content of face masks that balance filtration with breathability.  Read more in the June 25 story posted to blog and News Service.

Credit:

Adverse effects of nanosilver on human health and the environment

Author: Ehsan Rezvani, Aran Rafferty, Cormac McGuinness, James Kennedy

Publication: Acta Biomaterialia

Publisher: Elsevier

Date: August 2019

Cross-section of a cotton fiber with silver nanoparticles (black dots) trapped inside it.

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