January 24, 2018

EPA Bans Nano Silver in Food Containers

The EPA has banned nano silver, a pesticide, in food containers. Pathway Investment Corp. of New Jersey has been ordered to stop the sale of plastic food storage containers that have not been tested or registered with the EPA, which is a violation of U.S. pesticides law.

The products include Kinetic Go Green Premium Food Storage Containers and Kinetic Smartwist Series containers. They have nano silver as an active ingredient. Other products made by the company contain nano silver, which the company claims reduces the growth of mold, fungus, and bacteria. Those claims can only be made on products that have been tested for safety and registered with the EPA.

EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck said in a statement, “claims that mold, fungus, or bacteria are controlled or destroyed by a particular product must be backed up with testing so that consumers know that the products do what the labels say. Unless these products are registered with the EPA, consumers have no information about whether the claims are accurate. The EPA will continue to take action against companies making unverified public health claims.”

Nano silver has been used in development of photos for years, and as an algaecide in swimming pools and drinking-water filters. It is also used in electric shavers, bed and bath linens, cosmetics, stuffed animals, and in hospital equipment. Scientists have not reached a consensus on how it behaves in the body. Its use may contribute to bacterial resistance, as its widespread use could trigger resistance against the product. Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Center for Technology Assessment said, “it’s one thing if we’re using a little bit of nano silver in the shoes of diabetics. It’s another thing if you’re putting it in all underwear, all socks, every bed, every bed sheet.”

Some scientists believe that nano silver should only be used in hospital settings, because its overuse could also promote bacterial resistance against antibiotics. Nano silver is highly toxic to aquatic organisms, and may kill bacteria needed in treatment plants to break down waste.

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) applauded this move, with Jaydee Hanson saying that “this is the first time a nanotechnology-based product used on food has been withdrawn from the market, and is a major victory in protecting consumers from a technology whose health and environmental effects are still unknown.” CFS filed a legal petition with the EPA in 2008 requesting that these products be taken off the market.

The EPA has also sent warning letters to Amazon, Sears, Wal-Mart, and other large retailers, telling them not to sell the products. Two other products sold by the company: TRITAN Food Storage, and StackSmart Storage, are also banned under this order.

Image courtesy EPA

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