"The scientists note that, once ingested, nanoparticles can pass into the blood and lymph system, circulate through the body and reach potentially sensitive sites such as the spleen, brain, liver, and heart. Nanosilver’s presence in clothing and cosmetics provides another potential route of exposure. A recent study revealed that athletic wear impregnated with nanosilver can cause the substance to seep into a person’s skin through one’s sweat. A 2009 study showed that washing these types of nanosilver-impregnated textiles resulted in an unknown spread of the substance into the environment. Due to its small size, nanosilver is often not filtered out by conventional wastewater treatment plants. After entering the environment, past studies show nanosilver can have devastating impacts on wildlife, including deformities in fish and immune suppression in earthworms.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been criticized by scientists and consumer and environmental groups for its role in regulating emerging nanotechnology. A 2013 National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report provided a scathing account of EPA’s “conditional” registration of nanosilver, which the agency approved under the assumption that its use would reduce the overall burden of conventional silver in the environment. However, despite its novel antibacterial properties, the material did not undergo a full range of required tests, and there is no labeling system that would alert consumers to the presence of this largely untested substance in consumer products. A 2012 industry newsletter placed EPA’s delay over nanotechnology regulation on White House officials in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Richard Denison, PhD, senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund explained, “My understanding is that there is a view in some circles in the White House that they do not want to stigmatize nanomaterials nor stifle the technology even by requiring the reporting of information that EPA needs to make judgments as to whether there are risks.”"