Results from two three-year studies into the safety of nanoparticles have concluded that textiles treated with nanoparticles pose little to no risk to human health or ecosystems.

The TechnoTox research was coordinated by the Hohenstein Institute and looked at the nanotoxicity risk of textiles, including fabrics enhanced with silver nanoparticles (Ag-NP).

Hohenstein determined how silver nanoparticles leach from fabrics, providing critical data for partners to evaluate the impact of silver nanoparticles on the environment.

Among the conclusions it was determined that silver nanoparticles acted effectively on bacteria found in perspiration but had no detrimental impact on the skin's naturally occurring protective bacteria and caused no skin irritation.

Additionally, the use of Ag-NP treated apparel did not build resistance in the undesirable bacteria, it said.

The study also indicated that the inhalation, absorption, and ingestion of any silver nanoparticles released from the tested fabrics had no negative effect on human organ or tissue functions. And it found no significant risk of damage to aquatic ecosystems, sewage treatment plants, or landfill operations from textile mill effluents or home laundry.

Silver nanoparticles are widely used to prevent unpleasant odour caused by bacteria, but concerns have been raised over their potential risks.