Extremely small particles of silver used in certain products to kill germs are pesticides, and as such will be regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the agency announced Wednesday.
Environmentalists are concerned that these "nanotechnology" particles - which measure one-millionth the head of a pin - might be released into the environment and kill helpful bacteria or aquatic organisms when products are discarded.
According to the Associated Press, germ-killing nanosilver is already an ingredient in over 200 products marketed to consumers, including shoe liners, food-storage containers, air fresheners, washing machines and other products.
The EPA announcement is a reversal of an agency decision last year that washing machines containing nanosilver were not covered by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act because they were devices.
However, the agency reviewed the evidence and has now decided "that the release of silver ions in the washing machines is a pesticide, because it is a substance released into the laundry for the purpose of killing pests," EPA spokeswoman Jennifer Wood told the AP. – (HealthDayNews)
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