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The Not-So-Silver Lining of Your Anti-Microbial Outdoor Apparel
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eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
The Not-So-Silver Lining of Your Anti-Microbial Outdoor Apparel on 06/23/2012 11:27:10 MDT Print View

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In recent years, many outdoor apparel manufacturers have embraced a new range of anti-microbial textile coatings that are designed to inhibit the growth of bacterial and fungus that cause odors. Less stinky clothes means less stinky people, so it obviously has great marketing appeal—especially for clothing and socks that one might wear for numerous days in the backcountry. Plus, less stinky clothes means having to do less laundry, so that could add up to real energy and water savings for consumers.

But anti-microbial coatings might have a dark side. Many of these coatings use nanoparticles of silver—silver being the anti-microbial agent. A 2009 study showed that washing these textiles releases silver nanoparticles into waste water. From there, they could then enter the environment. And because silver is a known aquatic toxin, that concerns scientists. Now, a study conducted by researchers from Duke University and other institutions for the Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology, has revealed something even more troubling: Silver nanoparticles released into the environment can end up as a silver contaminant in terrestrial plants and aquatic animals. What's more, the silver was found in the organisms' offspring.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
The silver lining on 06/28/2012 07:33:17 MDT Print View

Yeah, but my feet smell GREAT!!

As the Captain of the Beagle used to point out, let them adapt.