Nanosilver – Occupational exposure limits
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Instytut Medycyny Pracy im. prof. J. Nofera / Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland (Zakład Bezpieczeństwa Chemicznego / Department of Chemical Safety)
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Anna Maria Świdwińska-Gajewska   

Instytut Medycyny Pracy im. prof. J. Nofera, Zakład Bezpieczeństwa Chemicznego, ul. św. Teresy 8, 91-348 Łódź
Med Pr 2015;66(3):429–442
Historically, nanosilver has been known as colloidal silver composed of particles with a size below 100 nm. Silver nanoparticles are used in many technologies, creating a wide range of products. Due to antibacterial properties nanosilver is used, among others, in medical devices (wound dressings), textiles (sport clothes, socks), plastics and building materials (paints). Colloidal silver is considered by many as an ideal agent in the fight against pathogenic microorganisms, unlike antibiotics, without side effects. However, in light of toxicological research, nanosilver is not inert to the body. The inhalation of silver nanoparticles have an adverse effect mainly on the liver and lung of rats. The oxidative stress caused by reactive oxygen species is responsible for the toxicity of nanoparticles, contributing to cytotoxic and genotoxic effects. The activity of the readily oxidized nanosilver surface underlies the molecular mechanism of toxicity. This leads to the release of silver ions, a known harmful agent. Occupational exposure to silver nanoparticles may occur in the process of its manufacture, formulation and also usage during spraying, in particular. In Poland, as well as in other countries of the world, there is no separate hygiene standards applicable to nanomaterials. The present study attempts to estimate the value of MAC-TWA (maximum admissible concentration – the time-weighted average) for silver – a nano-objects fraction, which amounted to 0.01 mg/m3. The authors are of the opinion that the current value of the MAC-TWA for silver metallic – inhalable fraction (0.05 mg/m3) does not provide sufficient protection against the harmful effects of silver in the form of nano-objects. Med Pr 2015;66(3):429–442