ISSN 1214-0287 (on-line)
ISSN 1214-021X (printed)

Volume 6 (2008), No 3, p 117-129

Silver or silver nanoparticles: a hazardous threat to the environment and human health?

Nagender Reddy Panyala, Eladia M. Pena-Mendez, Josef Havel

Address: Josef Havel, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kotlarska 2, 61137 Brno, Czech Republic

Received 12th April 2008.
Revised 27th May 2008.
Published online 23rd June 2008.

Full text article (pdf)

These nanomaterials are already having an impact on health care. Now-a-days we are using nanoproducts in various fields. Of these, silver nanoparticles are playing a major role in the field of nanotechnology and nanomedicine.
Their unique size-dependent properties make these materials superior and indispensable as they show unusual physical, chemical and biological properties. Silver nanoparticles have potential antimicrobial activity towards many pathogenic microbes. Along with this antimicrobial activity, silver nanoparticles are showing unacceptable toxic effects on human health and the environment. The chronic exposure to silver causes adverse effects such as permanent bluish-grey discoloration of the skin (argyria) and eyes (argyrosis). Besides argyria and argyrosis, exposure to soluble silver compounds may produce other toxic effects like liver and kidney damage, irritation of the eyes, skin, respiratory and intestinal tract and changes to blood cells. This review summarizes the hazardous effects of silver nanoparticles in the environment and theirs toxic effects on human health.

silver nanoparticles; antimicrobial activity; argyria; argyrosis; silver toxicity

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