Approval of a Nanosilver Antimicrobial Is Repealed

Understanding the Nanosilver Approval Repeal

A federal appeals court in California has revoked the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) conditional approval of a nanosilver product used in a wide range of consumer products as an antimicrobial agent. Microban® does not employ this nanosilver product in their antimicrobial technology, so all Microban products are unaffected by this change in legality.

“The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit concluded that the agency's conditional approval of Nanosilva was based on two ‘unsubstantiated assumptions’. The EPA had argued that current users of conventional silver biocides would replace them with Nanosilva, and that the product's incorporation into new products would decrease the amount of silver released into the environment.”1

According to the court, the agency cites no evidence to support these assumptions. It merely argued that substitution would occur as a "logical matter". While it does make logical sense that a product with less silver in it would produce less silver byproduct that would impact the environment, there is no hard evidence yet to support this theory. It must be proven that a product is in the interest of the public to receive the conditional approval.

Does the Nanosilver Approval Repeal Mean It’s Not Safe?

Frankly, there just aren’t enough studies to know yet to what extent nanosilver antimicrobial agents are better or safer than current silver antimicrobial products. Until more studies are conducted and findings reported, nanosilver will have to wait. Some think it may be safe, but others think it will actually be more harmful. We need more studies and more facts before we can tell for sure.

Jennifer Sass, senior scientist with the health program of the Natural Resources Defense Council says of the court’s decision:

“This is an important victory for public health. Nanosilver is known to be highly toxic to aquatic life, and may be hazardous to people. EPA rushed to judgment by approving it, leaving consumers to be guinea pigs. Now the agency must take a closer look at its potential to cause harm.” 2

Is Microban SilverShield® Antimicrobial Technology Safe?

You can learn about how Microban SilverShield safely uses EPA approved silver antimicrobial technology to control growth of bacteria and microorganisms on products and read reports of our research and testing of our materials.