A new product is hitting the market, the SILVER SEAL(TM) Antibacterial, Washable Keyboard and Mouse by Seal Shield Corporation. What is unique about these products is that in addition to the nano silver ions embedded directly into the plastic for anti-bacterial impacts, the products are completely dishwasher safe.
The ability to put these materials into the dishwasher may reignite the debate over silver ions being released into wastewater. If you remember, there was a rather large discussion over the use of Samsung’s Silvercare washing machine that released silver ions into the rinse cycle. One of the concerns was that we are not sure what will happen to environmental systems when silver ions are released into the wastewater system. While US EPA elected to regulate the washing machine under the labeling provisions of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the concerns over environmental impacts were not discussed in a wide forum. These new products may restart that debate over releasing nanomaterials freely into the environment (not to mention the potential FIFRA ramifications given the antibacterial claims).
However, as with all things nano these days, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the benefits these products pose. Seal Shield is proposing using these products in the medical field where bacterial infection is a concern and the ability to wash and sterilize items is important. Consequently, we’re back to the debate over finding the middle ground.