U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Date of this Version



Chemosphere 111 (2014) 352–358


This article is a U.S. government work, and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


The use of nanoscale Ag in textiles is one the most often mentioned uses of nano-Ag. It has previously been shown that significant amounts of the Ag in the textiles are released upon washing. However, the form of Ag present in the textiles remains largely unknown as product labelling is insufficient. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate the solid phase speciation of Ag in original and washed silver textiles using XANES. The original Ag speciation in the textiles was found to vary greatly between different materials with Ag(0), AgCl, Ag2S, Ag–phosphate, ionic Ag and other species identified. Furthermore, within the same textile a number of different species were found to coexist. This is likely due to a combination of factors such as the synthesis processes at industrial scale and the possible reaction of Ag with atmospheric gases. Washing with two different detergents resulted in marked changes in Ag-speciation. For some textiles the two detergents induced similar transformation, in other textiles they resulted in very different Ag species. This study demonstrates that in functional Ag textiles a variety of different Ag species coexist before and after washing. These results have important implications for the risk assessment of Ag textiles because they show that the metallic Ag is only one of the many silver species that need to be considered.