Main content area

Characterisation and potential migration of silver nanoparticles from commercially available polymeric food contact materials

Addo Ntim, Susana, Thomas, Treye A., Begley, Timothy H., Noonan, Gregory O.
Food additives & contaminants 2015 v.32 no.6 pp. 1003-1011
acetic acid, desorption, food storage, nanosilver, oxidation, physicochemical properties, polyethylene, polypropylenes, silver, United States
The potential for consumer exposure to nano-components in food contact materials (FCMs) is dependent on the migration of nanomaterials into food. Therefore, characterising the physico-chemical properties and potential for migration of constituents is an important step in assessing the safety of FCMs. A number of commercially available food storage products, purchased domestically within the United States and internationally, that claim to contain nanosilver were evaluated. The products were made of polyethylene, polypropylene and polyphenylene ether sulfone and all contained silver (0.001–36 mg kg –¹ of polymer). Silver migration was measured under various conditions, including using 3% acetic acid and water as food simulants. Low concentrations (sub-ppb levels) of silver were detected in the migration studies generally following a trend characterised by a surface desorption phenomenon, where the majority of the silver migration occurred in the first of three consecutive exposures. Silver nanoparticles were not detected in food simulants, suggesting that the silver migration may be due solely to ionic silver released into solution from oxidation of the silver nanoparticle surface. The absence of detectable silver nanoparticles was consistent with expectations from a physico-chemical view point. For the products tested, current USFDA guidance for evaluating migration from FCMs was applicable.