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Bacteria-killing silver could be dangerous

Silver particles in clothing a health hazard

Sweden's environmental minster Lena Ek is worried about potential health and environmental hazards linked to silver used in clothing. Photo: Alexander von Sydow/Scanpix

An increasing number of clothing contains microparticles of silver which could lead to serious health issues such as hormonal disturbances and resistance to antibiotics.

Swedish weekly Ny Teknik writes that the function of the silver particles is to kill bacteria in clothing and other hygeine products such as toothbrushes. However, this function is fleeting as the silver particles quickly dissolve into water when washed.

Environmental minister Lena Ek has expressed concern over how the effects of the silver will harm the environment and the country's healthcare resources.

"Imagine if we end up having antibiotics in hospitals that we cannot use. I think this is a very dangerous situation, both for the environment and from a healthcare perspective", she told Swedish National Radio.

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