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New Technology Tests Foods For Harmful Silver Nanoparticles

August 30, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. scientists have discovered a reliable way to test fresh produce and other food products for toxic silver nanoparticles used in water treatment, food packaging, pesticides, cosmetics and other industries. When ingested, nanoparticles are abosrbed into the blood and lymph system, then circulate to sensitive sites such as the spleen, brain, liver and heart. For the study, the scientists immersed pears in a silver nanoparticle solution similar to a pesticide application, then washed and rinsed them  repeatedly. Four days later, using their technology, the scientists found silver nanoparticles still attached to the skin. Smaller particles had penetrated the skin and reached the pear pulp.
Zhong Zhang et al., "Detection of Engineered Silver Nanoparticle Contamination in Pears", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, August 30, 2013, © American Chemical Society
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